Brazil Police Clash With Homeless as Bus Torched Near City Hall

Police clashed with crowds in downtown Sao Paulo after attempts to retake an abandoned hotel occupied by homeless families sparked protests.

Demonstrators threw rocks at police and torched a bus in an intersection in front of Sao Paulo’s municipal theater and a few blocks from City Hall, according to televised images. Stores closed under the threat of looting as police responded to the violence with tear gas.

About 800 people had been living in the former hotel that closed 10 years ago, according to the group known as the Front for Housing Struggles, which advocates expropriating abandoned buildings and using them to house the homeless. The homeless have been taking over rundown buildings in the downtown area for years as part of a movement to pressure the city government to increase affordable housing in Sao Paulo.

About 80 people were arrested during the demonstrations, according to Globo News television. Two policemen were hurt and taken to the hospital, Globo News said.

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