By Duncan Mackay

Maracana protest Rio December 1 2012December 1 - A protest march has been held against the privatisation of Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã Stadium, which is currently being redeveloped for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. 

It is estimated that nearly a thousand people, including students, indigenous Indians from all over Brazil and artists took part in the three-hour, 2.5 mile march through the city carrying banners reading "Maracanã is Ours."

Built for the 1950 World Cup, the Maracanã is due to be the centrepiece for both the World Cup and Olympics and Paralympics.

It will host the final of the 2014 World Cup and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics in 2016. 

Maracana Stadium protests December 1 2012Indigenous Indians are protesting over the demolition of a museum next to the Maracanã

Besides the privatisation, planned for next year, the demonstrators also protested against the planned demolitions of an indigenous museum, a public school and some athletics facilities next to the Maracanã.

Government officials have claimed the museum is not used anymore and that all the buildings need to be removed to guarantee the Maracanã's modernisation, including building shops, restaurants and a car park.

The Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Sergio Cabral, and the director representative of Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) - the development bank of Latin America - in Brazil, Moira Paz Estenssoro, recently signed a $121 million (£76 million/€93 million) loan agreement with CAF to help fund the building of the new upgrade.

It is planned that a private company will be appointed to run the Stadium and facilities once it has been completed.

Completion is due for the end of next February, although most experts believe that it is behind schedule. 

Last month, a judge in Rio de Janeiro turned down two appeals made by the museum to prevent the demolition.

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