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Brazil: public transport protests turn violent

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Brazil: public transport protests turn violent

  • Protests in Rio, Sao Paulo and elsewhere
  • Anger at hike in public transport fares
  • Underlying anger at recession, government

The news

Protests against an increase in public transport fares in Brazil’s largest cities have turned violent.

Demonstrators broke bus windows and torched objects in the street to block traffic in Rio de Janeiro.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd of approximately 2,000 people in the country’s business centre, Sao Paulo.

At least ten people have reportedly been arrested. Two police officers have been injured.

The context

Many people in Brazil are angry about the increase in public transport fares.

Inflation in the country is already running at more than ten percent.

Latin America’s largest economy is edging deeper into its worst recession in more than 25 years. More than 1.5 million Brazilians lost their jobs in the year to November 2015.

Protests sparked by anger over increases in public transport fares also swept Brazil in 2013.

Hundreds of thousands came out onto the streets.

The protests mushroomed into nationwide demonstrations against government corruption, the quality of public services and the billions being spent on hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

President facing impeachment

The protests come as left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment proceedings in Congress.

Her popularity has been affected by the recession and a sweeping anti-corruption investigation involving her governing coalition.

Some political analysts say the mood on the streets could play an important role in determining the outcome of the impeachment process.

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