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1 person dies as violent protests flare in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
updated 7:53 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Brazilian police detain a man during a violent protest in the Pavao-Pavaozinho community near Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, April 22. Residents took to the streets after a young male dancer was found dead, state-run Agencia Brasil said. The residents told Brazilian media they blame the police for the death. Brazilian police detain a man during a violent protest in the Pavao-Pavaozinho community near Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, April 22. Residents took to the streets after a young male dancer was found dead, state-run Agencia Brasil said. The residents told Brazilian media they blame the police for the death.
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Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
Rio de Janeiro protests
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Protesters in Copacabana took to the streets after a dancer was found dead, state media reported
  • Demonstrators told Brazilian media they blame police for the death
  • Security officials say the dancer's injuries appear consistent with a fall
  • The clashes come as authorities step up security before the World Cup

Sao Paulo (CNN) -- Protesters burned barricades and police blocked streets as clashes flared in Rio de Janeiro's beachside neighborhood of Copacabana on Tuesday night. One person was killed.

Residents from the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela took to the streets of Copacabana after a young male dancer was found dead, state-run Agencia Brasil said. The residents told Brazilian media they blame the police for the death, accusing authorities of mistaking the dancer for a criminal.

The injuries the dancer sustained appear to be consistent with a fall, Rio de Janeiro's State Security Secretariat said in a Twitter post, adding that his death is still being investigated.

The clashes are sure to alarm authorities who are stepping up security ahead of the World Cup, which begins on June 12.

Police, backed by the Army, have stormed dozens of favelas, squeezing out drug gangs, since Rio de Janeiro launched a "pacification" program in 2008. They initially focused their efforts on the slums in the hills above the city's famous beaches, setting up permanent police posts.

People help a family out of a burning car after it drove over a barricade set on fire by protesters on Saturday, January 25. Brazil saw nationwide demonstrations against staging the World Cup after activists from the protest group Anonymous went on social media calling for action. While most of the protests in other Brazilian cities remained peaceful, the Sao Paulo event turned violent. People help a family out of a burning car after it drove over a barricade set on fire by protesters on Saturday, January 25. Brazil saw nationwide demonstrations against staging the World Cup after activists from the protest group Anonymous went on social media calling for action. While most of the protests in other Brazilian cities remained peaceful, the Sao Paulo event turned violent.
World Cup protest turns violent in Brazil
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Photos: World cup protest turns violent in Sao Paulo, Brazil Photos: World cup protest turns violent in Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Pavao-Pavaozinho slum clings to the hills dividing Copacabana from the elite beach of Ipanema.

Rio's slums the hot World Cup destination?

Protests started, according to Agencia Brasil, because residents believe police caused the death Douglas Rafael da Silva Pareira. His body was found Tuesday morning.

According to Brazilian media, shots were heard during the standoff with police on Tuesday evening. Globo TV reported that a resident was killed during the shootouts. Hundreds of people participated in the protest, according to Brazilian media.

Shootouts are still relatively common in Rio's favelas, and clashes with police, even in slums that have already been "pacified," have increased in recent months.

Earlier this month, Rio requested help from the Brazilian Army. More than 2,000 soldiers and marines moved into the sprawling Complexo da Mare shantytown in the industrial north zone.

The occupation will persist until the end of July, two months after the World Cup ends.

Rio will host a series of games, including the final match, during the Cup. It will also be the destination of choice for many of the 600,000 foreign fans expected to fly into Brazil for the major sporting event.

Poor, middle class unite in Brazil protests

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