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22 Jan, 2016 02:45

Sao Paulo police deploy tear gas & rubber bullets against transport fare hike protesters

Sao Paulo riot police have deployed tear gas and rubber bullets against crowds of protesters who refused to wrap-up their citywide march against an increase in transport fares. Dozens of people suffered injuries, according to social media reports.

While officials are yet to produce the official figures for those injured during the Thursday night clashes, social media users are flooding the web with reports of dozens being injured in the military police crackdown on protesters.

According to the collective of activists and lawyers, at least six people were injured on one single street corner.

Police deployed special riot units to put an end to a demonstration after thousands took to the streets of Sao Paulo in protest against transport fare hikes.

The crowd marched unhampered until they reached Praca da Republica square, which authorities designated the endpoint for the rally. After some 25 minutes of stalemate and improvised sit-in, the organizers decided to lead the rally further, according to globo.com, forcing authorities to deploy tear gas.

The protest, which was called for by the Free Pass Movement (MPL), gathered thousands of youths to speak out against the government’s decision to increase bus, subway and train fares to 3.80 reals ($0.94) per trip, up by 8.57 percent.

In June 2013, protests against a fare hike, also led by the Free Fare Movement, triggered the largest demonstrations in a generation in Brazil. Sporadic protests continue to this day.

So far in 2016, seven demonstrations have taken place, five of them in Sao Paulo. The first two, on January 8 and 12, were the most violent leaving dozens injured, some seriously, with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.