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Demonstrators burn US flag before Americans' debut

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NATAL, Brazil (AP) — Demonstrators burned a U.S. flag near the stadium in northern Brazil where Vice President Joe Biden planned to attend the U.S. soccer team's opening World Cup match Monday evening.

The protesters in Natal also burned a flag of FIFA, international soccer's governing body, and shouted against "imperialism." The protest drew only a few dozen people and they posed no threat to security officers who stopped them at a barricade about 2 kilometers (a mile) from the stadium's gates.

Anti-World Cup demonstrations also took place in the southern city of Curitiba before a match between Iran and Nigeria.

After being repelled by police near that stadium, protesters regrouped downtown and used bricks and construction debris to smash windows of at least three banks. They also sprayed anti-World Cup slogans on city buses.

Mass protests against the high cost of the World Cup spread across Brazil last year but demonstrations have been more subdued since the tournament began Thursday.

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Associated Press writer Michael Bodenhorst in Curitiba contributed to this report.

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