In Brief

Protests, arrests and gang violence mar Olympic build-up

Rio torch rally disrupted as angry Brazilians protest against high cost of hosting Games

Angry protests have marred the Olympic torch rally in Rio de Janeiro.

The torch arrived in the city after a three-month tour of Brazil and was carried for its first few laps by Mayor Eduardo Paes.

However, hundreds of demonstrators angry at the high cost of hosting the Games attempted to disrupt the procession. Riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

A police spokesman said a group of people refused to leave a lane of the road left open for the torch, as had been agreed, and also blocked a street in one area.

Meanwhile, around 450 heavily armed police battled drug gangs to carry out dozens of arrest orders in the Alemao slum in the north of Rio, reports The Guardian.

Armed soldiers stood patrol on highways and on many corners throughout the city while violence flared throughout the north of the country.

Olympic organisers are growing increasingly anxious over disruption from protestors. At least three were arrested on Tuesday in the town of Niteroi, across the bay from Rio, as the torch passed through. Police used pepper spray and part of the relay had to be abandoned.

Further protests are expected ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday. Organisers say more than a million tickets remain unsold.

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