Protesters storming the legislative assembly in Brazil Rio de Janeiro 17 06 2013

tens of thousands of protesters in Brazil's main cities took to the streets on Monday in growing protests which have tapped into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption.

The marches, organized mostly through snowballing social media campaigns, blocked streets and halted traffic in more than a half-dozen cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia.

In Brasilia, thousands of protesters stormed Congress and the Presidential Palace while in Sao Paulo, demonstrators marched along the bustling city's main avenue peacefully.

In Rio, an estimated 100,000 people marched through the streets. There were some clashes as police fired tear gas and protesters set vehicles ablaze.

Television images showed a tense standoff between police and protesters outside the legislative assembly in Rio de Janeiro.

The marches began this month with a small protest in Sao Paulo against a small increase in bus and subway fares.

Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin told journalists that the use of rubber bullets was no longer permitted following injuries in recent protests.

The protests have gathered pace as Brazil is hosting the soccer Confederation's Cup, a dry run for next year's World Cup.

Other common grievances at Monday's marches included political corruption and the inadequate and overcrowded public transportation networks that Brazilians cope with daily.

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