PICTURES

Brazilian riot police in a clash with vandals in Sao Paulo

Demonstrators of the group called Black Bloc shout slogans during a protest against Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin, in Sao Paulo on July 30, 2013. The placard reads, "Out Sao Paulo State Governor Alckmin, Corrupt". -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Demonstrators of the group called Black Bloc shout slogans during a protest against Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin, in Sao Paulo on July 30, 2013. The placard reads, "Out Sao Paulo State Governor Alckmin, Corrupt". -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Military police fire tear gas at demonstrators of the group called Black Bloc during a protest against Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin, in Sao Paulo on July 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Military police fire tear gas at demonstrators of the group called Black Bloc during a protest against Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin, in Sao Paulo on July 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Demonstrators of the group called Black Bloc attack a Santander bank branch during a protest against Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin, in Sao Paulo on July 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Demonstrators of the group called Black Bloc attack a Santander bank branch during a protest against Sao Paulo State Governor Geraldo Alckmin, in Sao Paulo on July 30, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Riot police take confront anti-government protesters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education services. -- PHOTO: AP
Riot police take confront anti-government protesters in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education services. -- PHOTO: AP
An anti-government demonstrator is detained by the police during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education services. -- PHOTO: AP
An anti-government demonstrator is detained by the police during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education services. -- PHOTO: AP
An anti-government demonstrator gestures to fellow protesters from the back seat of a police vehicle after he was detained in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education servic
An anti-government demonstrator gestures to fellow protesters from the back seat of a police vehicle after he was detained in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education services. -- PHOTO: AP
An anti-government demonstrator is detained by the police during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education services. -- PHOTO: AP
An anti-government demonstrator is detained by the police during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. Demonstrators are demanding better public transit, health and education services. -- PHOTO: AP
Riot policemen take their positions during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
Riot policemen take their positions during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
Demonstrators burn garbage during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
Demonstrators burn garbage during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
A bleeding demonstrator (centre) sits on the street after being injured during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. AFP
A bleeding demonstrator (centre) sits on the street after being injured during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. AFP
Policemen arrest a demonstrator during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
Policemen arrest a demonstrator during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
Demonstrators attack a car on display outside a cars company, during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
Demonstrators attack a car on display outside a cars company, during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
A demonstrator breaks a window glass of a bank office, during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
A demonstrator breaks a window glass of a bank office, during a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
A demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask takes part in a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP
A demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask takes part in a protest in support of Rio de Janeiro's protests and against Sao Paulo's governor Geraldo Alckmin, on July 30, 2013, in Sao Paulo. -- PHOTO: AFP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Brazilian riot police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse extremist protesters who ransacked bank branches, shops and a car dealership in central Sao Paulo.

A police spokesman told AFP that a total of 20 people were arrested during the clashes, which followed a peaceful march by 300 demonstrators against Sao Paulo state Governor Geraldo Alckmin.

The protest, called on social media by the Black Bloc anarchist group, also demanded the demilitarisation of the state police, who have been accused of using excessive force in previous disturbances.

Riot police fought running battles with a small group of extremists, who, armed with hammers, went on a rampage in the Pinheiros neighborhood, smashing windows in banks, shops and other businesses.

The police hurled tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against the vandals, some of them masked, who set fire to piles of trash and sprayed graffiti on walls and buildings.

There was no official word on casualties, but an AFP photographer saw one demonstrator injured by flying glass.

Police, who earlier warned that they would use force to stop "criminal acts," tightened security to prevent the bulk of the demonstrators from reaching the city's main Avenue Paulista, where 50 demonstrators chanted anti-Alckmin slogans.

"We want Alckmin to go. He is a corrupt capitalist," said 25-year-old Orlando Azevedo.

Various police units were deployed on the Avenue Paulista, Sao Paulo's financial heart, where last Friday some 300 extremists wrecked around 10 banks and set fire to a television news van.

Friday's violence erupted after a march in support Rio de Janeiro demonstrations against state Governor Sergio Cabral, who is accused of corruption.

In Rio last week, around 200 protesters marched to within a few meters of a Copacabana beach stage where visiting Pope Francis was wrapping up a massive ceremony with hundreds of thousands of young Catholics.

Last month, Brazil was jolted by a wave of massive street protests in scores of cities to demand better public services and an end to endemic corruption.

The unrest began in Sao Paulo with young militants demanding a rollback of public transport fare hikes, a call picked up in several other major cities.

The fare increases were subsequently canceled.