“Stop corruption. Change Brazil”; “Halt evictions”; “Come to the street. It’s the only place we don’t pay taxes”, read some of the placards held by protesters as they stormed to the streets of Brazil.
Central Rio de Janeiro and dozens of other cities echoed with percussion grenades and swirled with teargas Thursday night as ranks of riot police scattered the biggest demonstrations Brazil has seen for more than two decades.
A vast crowd - estimated by the authorities at 3,00,000 and more than a million by participants - filled the streets of Rio, one of a wave of huge nationwide marches against corruption, police brutality, poor public services and excess spending on the World Cup.
As a minority of protesters threw rocks, torched cars and pulled down lamp-posts, the police fired volleys of pepper spray and rubber bullets into the crowd and up onto overpasses where car drivers and bus passengers were stuck in traffic jam. At least 40 were injured in the city and many more elsewhere.
Simultaneous demonstrations were reported in at least 80 cities, with a total turnout of about 2 million. Thirty-five people were injured in Brasilia, where 30,000 people took to the streets.
In São Paulo, one man died when a frustrated car driver rammed into the crowd. Elsewhere countless people were hit by rubber bullets.
Guardian News Service