Brazil cracks down on protesting truckers, most roads open

SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – Brazilian police cracked down on striking truckers yesterday, arresting protesters and ending roadblocks in all but two states after demonstrations turned violent and slowed food deliveries in Latin America’s largest economy.

By last evening, there were only 12 partial roadblocks nationwide, down from 52 on Saturday, the federal highway police said in a report on the 12th consecutive day of strikes over rising freight costs.

Authorities in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul detained at least eight people and sent riot police to some areas, ending blockades in a state that erupted in violence over the weekend.

Protesters torched a vehicle full of tires overnight, police said, after protester Cleber Adriano Machado Ouriques was hit and killed by a truck that did not stop at a blockade in the municipality of Sao Sepe.

The nearly 2-week-old movement has slowed grain deliveries, forced meat-processing plants to close and started to leave some grocery stores with bare shelves.

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