— SAO PAULO (AP) — Some of the biggest demonstrations since the end of Brazil's 1964-85 dictatorship have broken out across this continent-sized country, uniting tens of thousands frustrated by poor transportation, health services, education and security despite a heavy tax burden.
More than 100,000 people were in the streets Monday for largely peaceful protests in at least eight big cities. However, demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte were marred by vandalism and violent clashes with police.
About two dozen people were reported injured.
The wave of protests, which began over a hike in bus prices, was also in large part motivated by widespread images of Sao Paulo police last week beating demonstrators and firing rubber bullets during a march that drew 5,000. In Rio, the violent police crackdown on a small and peaceful crowd Sunday near the Maracana stadium incited many to come out for what local news media described as the city's largest protest in a generation.
Tuesday's newspapers and morning news shows were filled with images of clashes between demonstrators and police in Rio, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte. The vast majority of Rio's protesters were peaceful, but a small group of demonstrators attacked the state legislature building, setting a nearby car and other objects ablaze. The newspaper O Globo cited Rio state security officials as saying at least 20 officers and 10 protesters were injured there.
Monday's protests came during soccer's Confederations Cup and just one month before a papal visit, a year before the World Cup and three years ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The unrest is raising security concerns and renewed questions over Brazil's readiness to host the mega-events.
A cyber-attack knocked the government's official World Cup site offline, and the Twitter feed for Brazil's Anonymous group posted links to a host of other government websites whose content had been replaced by a screen calling on citizens to come out to the streets.