MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, March 23rd 2019 - 15:20 UTC

Brazil's main city again rocked by riots and vandalism over transport facilities and costs

Saturday, October 26th 2013 - 15:45 UTC
Full article 15 comments
Police clash with demonstrators who torched a bus and vandalized the terminal (Pic Reuters) Police clash with demonstrators who torched a bus and vandalized the terminal (Pic Reuters)

Brazilian police fired tear gas and have arrested scores of protesters in the country's main city Sao Paulo when a march demanding free public transportation for students turned violent. The protest on Friday evening blocked key city streets and disrupted the public transportation system in the city of 11 million. Police reported the arrest of at least 78 people.

A group of 'vandals', some wearing black hoods, smashed store windows and bank ATM machines, set a public bus on fire, and destroyed subway and bus ticket machines, while riot police wielding clubs and shields in turn fired tear gas to disperse the mob. Sao Paulo police blamed the anarchist group “Black Bloc” for the violence.

A group that police described as “criminals disguised as demonstrators” even surrounded and attacked a police colonel.

“Since the start of the demonstration the presence of Black Bloc members, who screamed at police and tried to get them to react violently, was noticed” city police said in a statement.

The anarchists “attacked Colonel Reynaldo Simoes Rossi in a cowardly fashion, stealing his pistol and his radio. The officer had his collar bone broken and multiple lacerations to his face and head,” the report read.

Broadcast images showed a sole plainclothes officer waving his pistol in an attempt to guard the colonel, who was on the ground being attacked by the masked thugs.

According to police, violence erupted following a three-hour march through the city to protest against the president’s failure to address the ongoing issue of the cost of transport.

Brazil is in the international spotlight as it prepares to host the World Cup next year and the Summer Olympics in 2016.

More than a million Brazilians took to the streets in June, angry at widespread corruption and the millions being spent on the sporting events. Protesters say the money should instead be invested in improved transportation, education and health services.

In a June protest in Sao Paulo, tens of thousands marched over the poor condition of the public transportation system. Smaller protests have since been taking place in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Those protests are often led by radical groups and usually end up in clashes with police.

Black Bloc members wear black hoods, T-shirts or scarves to cover their faces. They move in groups, and often break windows and attack police at otherwise peaceful demonstrations.

According to police, violence erupted following a three-hour march through the city to protest against the president’s failure to address the ongoing issue of the cost of transport.

Earlier on Friday, President Dilma Rousseff announced a 2.4bn (1,1bn dollars) plan to improve public transport in Sao Paulo. The money will be invested in urban train lines and subway expansion including a new line to link the city's airport to Sao Paulo's eastern zone.

“The republic and the state government have a common coordinated action to attack the most serious problems that we have in our largest cities, one of which is urban mobility,” said Ms Rousseff.
 

Categories: Politics, Brazil, Latin America.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • CabezaDura

    The irony is Argentina wants bread and Brazil doesn’t want the circus :)

    Oct 26th, 2013 - 04:23 pm 0
  • GeoffWard2

    'Black Bloc members wear black hoods, T-shirts or scarves to cover their faces. They move in groups, and often break windows and attack police at otherwise peaceful demonstrations.'

    I'm glad the reporting is plainly distinguishing between the students with their specific grievance and the violent police-baiters.

    My desire is to address the larger corruption issue, but I cannot blame the students from demonstrating to better their own situation.
    The 'black' criminals may or may not be part of a corrupt group, but they are certainly criminal. They are baiting the police to react with their guns - to politicise an otherwise simply criminal issue.
    Knowing these police, they will react eventually with lethal force; people both guilty and innocent will die, and Dilma will have new dimension to this transport/urban problem ... just before the presidential elections.

    Oct 26th, 2013 - 07:06 pm 0
  • Conqueror

    @1 Has anybody checked out whether these “vandals” are actually argies? After all, Brazil isn't too happy with argieland at present. All those impediments to trade. And then argieland is going to make sure Brazil loses all its preferential tariff rates with the EU. That's obvious. Argieland gets little because it's lying and untrustworthy. Damage its fellow LatAm countries so they get peeved as well. And this “Black Bloc” bunch. Don't they sound like La Campora with different underwear? La Campora like wearing underwear. Anonymity and they get to sniff as well. It's very important to grab these “people” and conduct autopsies. Then, after several days, the argies amongst them can be executed. Those who aren't argies can be tried for assisting a foreign power. If they are dead lucky (sorry!), they may survive to hear the verdict!

    Oct 27th, 2013 - 11:03 am 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!