Mass protests continued throughout Brazil Thursday as hundreds of thousands assembled in the main cities of Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro with no sign of subsiding even as governments reversed course on planned public transit fare hikes.
An 18-year-old protester was killed and dozens injured as massive protests continued across South America’s largest country, with over a million people taking to the streets there on the day.
In addition to the one demonstrator killed, three more injured in the same incident after they were hit by a car in the town of Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo state. Witnesses say the car tried to break a human chain created by protesters.
Apparently outraged because he was being blocked, the driver accelerated the vehicle and ran over the four. Three people were taken to hospital with fractures, one of them in serious condition. Delefrate Marcos, 18, died at the scene.
In Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, crowds were estimated to be at 75,000 during Thursday’s demonstrations. Throngs converged on the city’s main throughway, Avenida Paulista, paralyzing traffic.
In Rio de Janeiro, authorities had expected as many as a million protesters despite recent announcements by the state government that it would scrap plans to increase public transportation costs. Fifty-five injured people were admitted to the city’s Souza Aguiar hospital following clashes, hospital officials say.
Security forces in Rio resorted to tear gas early on Thursday evening to disperse a crowd making its way to city hall. Plumes of smoke could be seen on video broadcast by local TV.
Police in Brasilia, the nation’s capital, were forced to push back as demonstrators attempted to break into the Foreign Ministry headquarters, throwing burning objects into shattered windows, while the more daring darted past security forces and into the building.
Elsewhere in the capital, firefighters responded to several small fires, though the large crowds for the most part seemed to only be interested in occupying space. Regardless, there were reports of damage to windows at the Foreign Ministry, graffiti at the Ministries of Health and Culture, as well as one burned-out bus and bus stops destroyed along the main drag.
After some seven hours of demonstrations by a reported crowd of 30,000 three protesters were left injured and in critical condition, with about 40 others wounded.