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Bus drivers’ protest in Brazil metropolis strands 1 million commuters

Sao Paulo, Nov 5 (EFE).- Bus drivers protesting against the torching of their vehicles during street demonstrations left commuters stranded for several hours Wednesday here in Brazil’s largest city.

Drivers halted work between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and used their vehicles to blockade Sao Paulo’s 29 bus stations, snarling traffic.

The buses carry around 1 million passengers a day, according to the SPTrans transit agency.

Protest leaders complained about the burning of buses during street demonstrations.

Through the end of last month, at least 119 buses have been set ablaze and 795 others damaged during street demonstrations in Sao Paulo spurred by a range of grievances, including police violence.

Authorities registered 65 cases of vandalism against buses in all of 2013.

The Sindmotoristas union representing the drivers demands a commission with representatives from government agencies to find solutions to the problem.

“We are running the risk of being burned inside a bus,” Sindmotoristas president Valdevan Noventa said. “Our protest seeks to make passengers aware of this problem. People must report and confront this vandalism.”

Bus driver John Carlos Soares Brandao suffered burns in one such attack on Oct. 18 and died four days later. EFE