Anti-World Cup protesters inflate giant footballs in Brasilia

BRASïLIA (AFP) - Activists angry over Brazil's spending on the World Cup inflated 12 giant footballs in front of Congress on Tuesday, the latest protest in the build-up to the June 12 kick-off match.

The balls, one for each of the 12 cities hosting the tournament, measured two meters in diameter.

One, painted with the Brazilian flag, was slowly deflating - a symbol of the deflating performance of Brazil's government, said protest organizer Antonio Carlos Costa.

"We want the Brazilian government to ask the nation's forgiveness because it promised something it never delivered. It invested a fortune of public money in things that weren't necessary," Costa, founder of activist group Rio de Paz (River of Peace), told AFP.

Brazil has been hit by a wave of protests and strikes ahead of the World Cup and a presidential election in October.

President Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking reelection, has faced criticism over the more than US$11 billion (S$14 billion) spent on the tournament in a country with urgent needs in education, health care and transport.