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Brazil police, people clash during protest over transport fare hike

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Security forces gather near a protest site in Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 21, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

Police in Brazil’s largest city of Sao Paulo have clashed with people protesting a planned hike in public transportation fares in the city of Sao Paulo.

The demonstration, which began peacefully, turned violent when protesters approached police barricades set up around the city’s famous Plaza Republica on Thursday night.

Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the thousands of protesters who had showed up. Several demonstrators were reportedly injured and detained.

The angry demonstrators are demanding free transit passes and objecting the proposed fare hike from 3.50 reais (USD 0.87) to 3.80 reais (USD 0.95). The protesters also said the fare hike is not justified considering the poor quality of public transit services.

It was the second consecutive day of such protests in several major cities across Brazil, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Students protest against the rise in transport fares in Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 14, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Last week, a similar demonstration in Sao Paulo turned violent when a group of protesters attempted to vandalize a subway station toward the end of the event, prompting police forces to use stun grenades and pepper spray to disperse them.

The latest protest in Sao Paulo, involving thousands of people, was organized by the Free Fare Movement, the same group that organized massive anti-government demonstrations across Brazil in 2013 over a hike in transport fees then.

In June that year, simultaneous protests were held in nearly 80 cities, with a total turnout estimated at close to two million.

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