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Rio governor admits mishandling of protests

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Governor Sergio Cabral of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday admitted mistakes in coping with mass protests in the past two months.

"I failed to establish dialogue.... to avoid the situations that happened," the governor told a local radio station. "But I am not a haughty person, I am open to dialogue."

In June, a wave of massive protests swept Brazil, and Rio bore the brunt of public anger. The biggest rally in Rio gathered about a million people.

Angry protestors denounced a rise in bus and metro fares and deterioration of public services after government budgets were strained by stadium and infrastructure projects for world sports events, such as the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

Governor Cabral had seen his popularity plunge to only 12 percent in a poll last week. The governor's reputation is also eclipsed by corruption allegations that he used a government helicopter to shuttle his family staff and even his wife's hairdresser.

A number of Rio protestors have been staging a sit-in just outside Cabral's house in the Leblon neighborhood of Rio.

Despite his plummeting popularity, Cabral reaffirmed that his party, the PMDB, will take part in next year's gubernatorial elections.

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