x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Brazil teachers’ strike erupts in violence

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo wake up to scenes of destruction following violent overnight demonstrations by striking teachers demanding higher pay.

A demonstrator with his face covered jumps over a burning barricade during a march in support of teachers on strike in Rio de Janeiro. Felipe Dana / AP
A demonstrator with his face covered jumps over a burning barricade during a march in support of teachers on strike in Rio de Janeiro. Felipe Dana / AP

RIO DE JANEIRO // Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo woke up to scenes of destruction yesterday following violent overnight demonstrations by striking teachers demanding higher pay.

In Rio, a largely peaceful rally by some 20,000 demonstrators turned violent when small groups of masked protesters started hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at banks, stores and restaurants and set fire to a passenger bus.

Shattered store and bank windows, wrecked ATMs and other debris were being cleared away in Rio yesterday.

Violence also broke out on Monday in Sao Paulo during a demonstration in support of the teachers in Rio.

Footage aired by the Globo TV network showed demonstrators in both cities shattering shop windows with hammers and large pieces of wood.

Protesters also hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the American and Angolan consulates in Rio, where they set fire to trash used as street barricades and tried unsuccessfully to set Rio’s City Council on fire.

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and percussion grenades to disperse the protesters.

It was the second time in a week that clashes broke out in Rio between police and striking teachers. Chaos erupted when police set off deafening percussion grenades and fired rubber bullets.

The demonstrations were among the most violent in a series of street protests that have hit several Brazilian cities since June. Those earlier demonstrations against a subway and bus fare hike in Sao Paulo snowballed into a nationwide movement against high taxes, corruption and high World Cup spending.

The protests took place as Fifa Secretary General Jerome Valcke began an inspection tour of World Cup host cities. On the wall of a bank that was attacked, a protester spray-painted a message that read: “Screw the World Cup.”

Associated Press