FIFA World Cup protests welcome: Brazil official

Rio de Janeiro: Any anti-government protests that may break out as Brazil hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup are legitimate expressions of democracy, secretary-general of Brazil`s presidency Gilberto Carvalho said.

"We must understand that the protests are legitimate, natural and the expression of a democracy that wants to participate. I would say they are unavoidable in a democracy and even welcome," he said in a televised interview Friday.

In his appearance on the "Good Morning Minister" TV show, aired by the government channel, Carvalho said the government will work on its dialogue with society, so the people will have fewer reasons to protest.

He warned, however, that violent protests will be dealt with severely.

Massive anti-government protests broke out in June of this year, as Brazil hosted the Confederations Cup with Brazilians demanding less public spending on prestige events, and improved public services such as healthcare, education and transportation.

The protests were violently repressed in several cities, especially Rio and Sao Paulo, where football games are scheduled to take place.

Since then, there have been fears of a repeat of the mass demonstrations during the upcoming games, which will take place in June and July in 12 Brazilian cities.

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