Police attack striking Brazilian teachers, injures 213
Brazilian police forces have clashed with teachers protesting over pension reforms in the southern city of Curitiba, leaving nearly 213 of them injured.
Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades at the nearly 20,000 teachers who were marching in the city to oppose a change to state pensions. Live video images of the clashes showed police firing rubber bullets into groups of teachers and using water cannon to drive demonstrators back.
Mayor of Curitiba Gustavo Fruet described the scene as a “war zone.” Fruet said on Twitter that the unarmed security personnel of the city hall formed a corridor to allow safe passage for injured teachers to reach inside the building to receive first aid. He blamed police for the “tragedy.”
Police, who have been criticized for their use of heavy-handed measures, said they took action after a few protesters tried to gain access to the Parana State legislative assembly building.
Meanwhile, the security forces claimed that some 20 police officers had been hurt in the clashes.
The regional Parana State government announced on its website that it “deeply regrets the acts of confrontation, aggression and vandalism caused this afternoon.”
The statement, however, confirmed that the hostilities were not caused by the teachers, adding that 13 people had been arrested for attacking policemen.
Despite the protests, the Parana State legislative assembly voted on changing the terms of teachers’ pensions, approving that 33,000 retirees be removed from a pension fund paid by the state, and be added to one shared by the state and working teachers.