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Colourful 2014 World Cup opening ceremony

Violent protests elsewhere in Sao Paulo

Thursday, June 12, 2014 | 2:38 PM    

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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) -- The opening ceremony for the World Cup got under way at Sao Paulo's Corinthians Arena Thursday, in a vivid, colourful contrast to the violent protests taking place in the city.

The festivities began at approximately1:15 pm (local time) ahead of the opening game which kicks off at 3:00pm between hosts Brazil and Croatia in the four-week long tournament.

Earlier, military police in Sao Paulo clashed with masked anti-World Cup protesters demonstrating against the huge cost of staging the tournament.

The clashes came after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up an earlier, smaller protest near a Sao Paulo subway station.

A crowd of more than 60,000 people, including 12 foreign heads of state, will watch the tournament's opening match.

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