January 13, 2016 / 2:02 AM / in 2 years

Police detain 17 in Sao Paulo bus fare protest

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Military police in Brazil said they had detained 17 people protesting against bus fare hikes in Sao Paulo on Tuesday, acting aggressively to end the demonstrations with tear gas and stun grenades.

Demonstrators raise their arms during a protest against fare hikes for city buses in Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 12, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Security officials said in a televised news conference they had decided to launch tear gas after protesters from the Free Fare Movement tried to cross a police blockade in the movement’s second demonstration this month.

Brazilians have been angered by the increase in public transport prices, with inflation running at more than 10 percent even as the economy stalls and unemployment rises.

Police said in a blog post that about 3,000 attended the demonstration in Brazil’s largest city, a shadow of protests lead by the same group in 2013 that gained hundreds of thousands of participants.

The Free Fare Movement, also known as MPL, said over Twitter the police had overreacted and left dozens of protesters injured. Reuters could not independently verify the injuries.

Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Sandra Maler

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