By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fresh protests against a rise in bus fares in Rio have led to at least 31 students being arrested on Monday evening, after demonstrators clashed with riot police. Police reportedly used rubber bullets, stun grenades and pepper spray against the protesters, who are accused of causing damage to public and police property.
Protesters set light to traffic cones, threw stones at cars and buses, and damaged a building belonging to telecom company Embratel.
One student also allegedly damaged a police motorbike. At least some of the students are from the city’s main federal university, UFRJ.
Separate groups started their protest in different parts of the city and aimed to join together to form one large, final protest group.
Once in running battles with police, some protesters attempted to hide in shops and restaurants, Globo news reports.
Bus tickets in Rio rose from R$2.75 to R$2.95 on the first day of June, which sparked protests last week and led to a number of arrests. The protests involved around 200 people and were mainly organized through social network Facebook.
The 7.27-percent rise had originally been scheduled for January, but was delayed due to high inflation at the beginning of the year. Last week, protests were also seen in São Paulo as bus prices were increased by 6.7 percent from R$3 to R$3.20.
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