About 500 protesters on Tuesday blocked the Dutra highway, the main route between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's two largest cities, in another demonstration linked to the wave of protests sweeping the South American giant.

The company that administers the highway and the Highway Police said that the blockades occurred at Km 149 and 152, in the city of Sao Jose dos Campos, some 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Sao Paulo.

Authorities said that the demonstrators gathered on the city's central plaza to protest the recent hike in public transport fares and, despite the rainy conditions, decided to march to the Dutra highway, which passes through that industrial city.

The blockade caused a huge traffic jam on the roadway, which is mainly used by trucks and buses traveling the route between the two metropolises.

The protests began last week in Sao Paulo and, initially, were exclusively staged to show public opposition to the fare hikes, but others added new demands to the agenda, including greater investment in health care and education, as well as criticism of corruption and the heavy government spending to organize high-profile sports events such as the 2014 World Cup instead of allocating those funds toward alleviating sources of social distress. EFE