SÃO PAULO, Brazil –– Brazilian officials have said they will no longer tolerate hooliganism at soccer matches and are clamping down on fan violence as the World Cup draws nearer.
The announcement came after serious incidents of violence in both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo between rival-team supporters, according to Xinhua.
Twenty-one Fluminense fans were arrested on Sunday for attacking two Vasco da Gama fans, reported Agence France-Presse. Earlier last week, Vasco fan Diego Leal was killed by rivals from Flamengo, and Flamengo fan Bruno Saturnino was beaten to death in April by Vasco supporters. Civil police also asked the judicial prosecutor general's office last week to ban Flamengo fans from Rio stadiums.
"We can no longer tolerate violence... this is not an example of (the image) we wish to project at the World Cup. We must act with rigor," Marta Rocha of the civil police authority told AFP.
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The mother of one of the 21 arrested Sunday also reportedly said: "I am ashamed of my son."
According to Xinhua, the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Salvador will host next year's Confederations Cup, known as FIFA's dress rehearsal for the World Cup, which takes place the following year. With both events bringing a massive number of tourists to Brazil, the country's government said it wants to ensure visitors will be able to attend soccer matches in a peaceful environment.