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Protests mar Confederations Cup for second day

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds as protests marred a second successive day of the Confederations Cup soccer tournament in Brazil on Sunday.

Protesters tried to pass a police blockade outside Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium where Mexico were playing Italy in the tournament, a run-through event for next year's World Cup finals.

Reuters TV filmed police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd estimated by local media at around 600 people.

"They were to trying to negotiate with the protesters to retreat, I am a protester," one man told Reuters TV.

"But they didn't wait, they came this way, they encircled us and fired tear gas into the crowds without seeing if there were women or children."

Italy beat Mexico 2-1 in the Group A game.

The protests are ostensibly against the costs of this tournament and the World Cup but people are also angry in Rio about a local issue surrounding the cost of public transport. There were demonstrations around the country last week against public transport costs.

Protests marred the opening day of the tournament on Saturday when around 500 protesters were tear-gassed by police in Brasilia where the hosts were playing Japan.

(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Mike Collett; Editing by Sonia Oxley)

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