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Police and protesters clashed in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro following the death of a young man allegedly beaten by police.

Violent protests broke out in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday after the body of a 25-year-old man, Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, was found in the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela near the Copacabana beach.

Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira regularly appeared on Brazil’s largest TV network, Globo.

Main streets through the tourist area of Copacabana were closed as angry demonstrators from a nearby favela set barricades of tires alight.

The unrest started after a dancer was killed by police who reportedly mistook him for a drug trafficker.

It comes less than two months before Brazil hosts the football World Cup.

Police and protesters clashed in Rio de Janeiro following the death of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira

Police and protesters clashed in Rio de Janeiro following the death of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira (photo Reuters)

One man was shot dead during the violence on Tuesday night, local media quoted officials as saying. A 12-year-old boy was also reportedly wounded.

Witnesses said cars were set ablaze, a police station was attacked and gunfire could be heard from the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela.

Douglas Rafael da Silva, a professional dancer, was reportedly found dead inside a school earlier on Tuesday.

According to his family, his body was covered in wounds and they accused local police of beating him to death after mistaking him for a member of a local drugs gang.

The circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation, AFP news agency quoted police as saying.

“An on-site report indicates Douglas’s injuries are compatible with a death caused by a fall,” the police statement said.

Amnesty International says some 2,000 people die every year in Brazil due to police violence.

Huge crowds, demanding an explanation for the death, gathered near the entrance to the favela, which is just a few streets away from Rio’s famous beaches and tourist hot-spots.

Pavao-Pavaozinho is one of several Rio favelas or slums that have been part of the recent “pacification” program.

It is an attempt by the city authorities to drive the heavily armed drugs gangs away from the communities and to restore some peace and police authority ahead of the football World Cup in June and July.

World Cup 2014 will begin in Sao Paulo on June 12 and will end with the final in Rio’s famous Maracana stadium on July 13.

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