Protesters arrested in violent Brazil transportation demo

Protesters arrested in violent Brazil transportation demo

SAO PAULO - Police fired tear gas and arrested protesters in Sao Paulo late Friday when a march demanding free public transportation for students turned violent.

A group of vandals, some wearing black hoods, smashed bank ATM machines, set a public bus on fire, and destroyed subway and bus ticket machines.

Riot police carrying clubs and shields in turn used tear gas to disperse the mob.

Some 60 people had been arrested in the protest, local media reported. Sao Paulo police however said they did not have a final tally when contacted by AFP.

The protest briefly blocked key city streets and disrupted the public transportation system in the city of 11 million.

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 Sao Paulo, tens of thousands were especially incensed over the poor condition of 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.

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