South America

Violent protest in Brazil over bus fares

Brazilian policemen confront demonstrators during a protest against the bus fare hike in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 08 January 2016. (EPA) Source: EFE

A protest in Brazil's biggest city of Sao Paulo over an increase in bus fares has turned violent with masked youths throwing rocks at police.

Brazilian riot police have fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse a violent protest against a rise in public transport fares in the country's largest city, Sao Paulo.

Television images on Friday showed small groups of rock-throwing, masked youths clashing with police in the centre of the metropolis, amid burning piles of rubbish. Protesters smashed the windows of buses and vandalised bank agencies.

Many Sao Paulo residents have been angered by the increase in public transport prices, with inflation in Brazil already running at more than 10 per cent.

More than 1.5 million Brazilians lost their jobs in the year to November, as Latin America's largest economy edged deeper into its worst recession in more than 25 years.

The march gathered thousands in Sao Paulo's downtown area and quickly turned violent when masked youths threw rocks at police. There was no immediate information about arrests or injuries.

Police also clashed with protesters in the city of Rio de Janeiro later on Friday. Television images showed masked protesters spray painting buses and smashing their windows.

The scenes evoked protests that swept Brazil in 2013, sparked by anger over bus fare increases, that brought hundreds of thousands of people on to the streets.

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