RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has said “there is no need to panic” after an usurge of street protests against the World Cup.

Rebelo, addressing the Senate, insisted he had no doubt that the demonstrations during the finals which begin next month would be peaceful.

Protesters had labelled Thursday as the International Day of Opposition to the World Cup, and demonstrations were reported in a number of cities after Sao Paulo.

Rebelo said: “People are concerned about these things because of the focus on Brazil but there are other issues here, like the fight against racism.

“The Brazilian public has a tradition for making its feelings known and these latest protests are no different. I’m sure there will be no problem.”

A comment last year by Rebelo about World Cup legacies earned him second place in a broadcaster’s internet poll for ‘quote of the World Cup,’

Third was Ronaldo, for his comment last year that the “World Cup was not built with hospitals” but No1 place went to FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke for his comment two years ago that Brazil’s World Cup organisers needed “a kick up the backside.”