UN human rights chief calls for restraint in Brazilian protests

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Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). [UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré]

Brazilian authorities have been urged to exercise restraint in response to spreading social protests as thousands of demonstrators gathered in Brazil's largest cities on Monday night.

The protests, which are mainly over the rising cost of public transport and the expense of staging the 2014 World Cup and the Rio Olympics in 2016, began on 10 June.

They have been described as the biggest seen in Brazil in more than 20 years.

Rupert Colville is Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva.

"We urge the Brazilian authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with spreading social protests in the country, and also call on demonstrators not to resort to acts of violence in pursuit of their demands. Overnight protests took place in several major Brazilian cities. Most were said to be peaceful but there were reported clashes between demonstrators and police in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte." (23")

Rupert Colville says the UN Human Rights Office welcomes the statement by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff that peaceful demonstrations are legitimate.

It also welcomes the agreement on Monday that Sao Paulo police would not use rubber bullets.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1'05"

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