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Transit Fee Hikes in Brazil Scrapped Amid Volatile Protests

  • VOA News

A protester jumps over a subway turnstile during a protest demanding improvements be made to the public transport system, at the bus station in the centre of Brasilia, June 19, 2013.
Leaders in two of Brazil's biggest cities have scrapped plans to increase public transportation fees, which triggered massive anti-government protests throughout the South American nation.

Officials in both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro announced their decisions Wednesday to revert back to the previous fares. Several other Brazilian cities had already canceled plans to increase transit fees.

Despite the reversals, protests continued across parts of Brazil Wednesday. Riot police clashed with several hundred protesters in the city of Niteroi as they tried to block a bridge that links Niteroi with Rio de Janiero.

The protests have evolved into anger over the government's lavish spending on new stadiums to host this month's Confederations Cup football tournament and next year's World Cup, while public services go neglected and official corruption runs rampant.

Many of the protesters belong to Brazil's growing middle class.

The Confederations Cup began June 15 and lasts two weeks.