RIO DE JANEIRO – A commuter train was set on fire and several stations vandalized on Wednesday by passengers angry over a system breakdown during the morning rush hour, Brazil’s Globo television said, citing authorities.
Eleven people required hospital treatment for minor injuries, Col. Evandro Bezerra of the Rio de Janeiro fire department told the network.
The focus of the disturbances was in the Rio suburb of Nilopolis, where the train was set ablaze and passengers blocked city streets until police dispersed them.
The Nilopolis station was in ruins by the time police arrived, a senior officer told Globo, adding that his men were forced to use tear gas against “extremely violent people” in the crowd.
Globo broadcast images of infuriated commuters vandalizing two other suburban stations.
The violence came after a train broke down at 7:40 a.m., effectively shutting down the system and forcing the passengers to travel on foot to another station.
The commuter rail network, which is the main form of transport in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, did not resume normal operations until nearly midday.
System operator SuperVia sought to mollify passengers by distributed free tickets at the Nilopolis and announced that commuters on the affected line will travel Thursday at no charge. EFE