Brazil riots latest: Protests continue at Confederations Cup matches despite Rio and Sao Paulo leaders agreeing to reverse public transport fare hikes

Riot police use gas bombs and pepper spray to quell protesters in the northern city of Fortaleza

Mass protests continued across Brazil last night despite leaders of the country's two biggest cities saying that they would reverse the increase in bus and subway fares that ignited the week-long demonstrations in the first place.

Both the mayors of Rio de Janeiro and the country's largest city Sao Paulo pledged to reverse the hike, with the Sao Paulo leader Fernando Haddad saying at a press conference that the U-turn "will represent a big sacrifice and we will have to reduce investments in other areas."

However, many are doubting that the move will quiet demonstrations - which have moved on from the outrage over the fare hikes and onto general cries against poor public services and corruption in the run up to 2014's World Cup - and protests continued throughout the country yesterday evening.

"It's not really about the price anymore," said Camila Sena, an 18-year-old university student at a protest in Rio de Janeiro's sister city of Niteroi. "People are so disgusted with the system, so fed up that now we're demanding change."

Small groups of protesters clashed with police in Niteroi late yesterday, while demonstrators staged a large march in the capital of Brasilia that included a new demand that the government provide free transit services.

Earlier in the day, about 200 people blocked the Anchieta Highway that links Sao Paulo, the country's biggest city, and the port of Santos before heading to the industrial suburb of Sao Bernardo do Campo on Sao Paulo's outskirts. Another group of protesters later obstructed the highway again. 

In the northeastern city of Fortaleza, 15,000 protesters clashed with police trying to prevent them from reaching the Castelao stadium before Brazil's game with Mexico in the Confederations Cup soccer tournament. 

Riot police used gas bombs and pepper spray to keep protesters from advancing past a barrier around 2 miles from the stadium. A police car was burned by demonstrators, who also threw rocks and other objects at officers. The protest disrupted fans' efforts to get in the stadium for Brazil's second match at the World Cup warm-up tournament.

Soldiers from Brazil's elite National Force were sent earlier this week to Fortaleza, Rio, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Brasilia to bolster secuirty during the tournament.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter urged protesters to stop linking their anger against the government to the Confederations Cup. The cost of building stadiums for the FIFA tournaments has been a regular complaint at marches. 

In an interview with Brazil's Globo TV network, Blatter said he could "understand that people are not happy, but they should not use football to make their demands heard." 

"We did not impose the World Cup on Brazil," he said.

Many now protesting in Brazil's streets hail from the country's growing middle class, which government figures show has ballooned by some 40 million people over the past decade amid a commodities-driven economic boom. 

The protesters say they've lost patience with endemic problems such as government corruption and inefficiency. They're also slamming Brazil's government for spending billions of dollars to host the World Cup and Olympics while leaving other needs unmet.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Belong: Volunteer Mentor for Offenders

This is a volunteer role with paid expenses : Belong: Seeking volunteers who c...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Apprentice Telesales & Marketing Opportunities

£10400 - £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests