RIO DE JANEIRO – Passengers on a Rio commuter train set fire to one of the cars on Tuesday in protest against the bad service, Brazilian police said.
The demonstrators set fire to the first train car after a mechanical failure kept it at a standstill for close to two hours at a spot on the railroad line that connects neighborhoods on Rio de Janeiro’s west side with the downtown area.
The breakdown at 8:00 a.m. held up the rest of the trains on the line, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.
Tuesday’s problem came on the heels of others that occurred the day before, and a similar stoppage last week of almost five hours, which infuriated scores of passengers who had to jump off the train and walk along the rails to the nearest station.
Besides the militants who set fire to seats and other inflammable material in one of the train cars, another larger group made a peaceful protest during which they threw articles of clothing and backpacks onto the rails to vent their rage about the problems of public transport in Rio de Janeiro.
The protests forced the rail operator to close the doors of the two nearest railroad stations to keep more irate passengers from joining in the protests.
It took firefighters nearly an hour to put out the fire.
The incidents occurred at the same time that another group of residents on the west side of Rio de Janeiro blocked a main thoroughfare to protest the deficiencies of the bus service in that densely populated area.
The demands for better public services that shook Brazil in June were sparked by a hike in public transport fares and for problems in the bus and subway services in cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. EFE