5th June, 2014

Amnesty International has urged Brazilian authorities to ensure security forces policing demonstrations during the FIFA World Cup will refrain from committing human rights violations as it released a report documenting what it says is a "catalogue of abuses" committed by security forces in the past year.

"The 2014 World Cup will be a crucial test for authorities in Brazil," said Atila Roque, director at Amnesty International Brazil. "They must use this opportunity to step up their game and ensure the security forces policing demonstrations during the tournament refrain from committing any more human rights violations."

The report - 'They use a strategy of fear': Protecting the right to protest in Brazil - found that the police response to protests held in the lead-up to the World Cup in 2013 was "in many instances, violent and abusive". It said military police units used tear gas indiscriminately against protestors, fired rubber bullets at people "who posed no threat", and beat people with batons. The report said hundreds have been injured and hundreds more indiscriminately rounded-up and detained.

Mr Roque said the country's "deficient" policing record, reliance on the military to police demonstrations, lack of training and "an atmosphere of impunity" created a "dangerous cocktail in which the only losers are peaceful protestors".

Amnesty activists in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia are today presenting federal authorities with tens of thousands of yellow cards signed by individuals from around the world to protest at the treatment of protestors.

~ www.amnesty.org

- DAVID ADAMS