A protest staged Tuesday in Sao Paulo by the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement, or MTST, to demand adequate housing degenerated into clashes between police and demonstrators, some of whom damaged public property and set fire to trash containers.

The clashes obligated the authorities to temporarily block important avenues in Brazil's largest city, police said.

More than 3,000 people, most of them belonging to the MTST, gathered outside the Sao Paulo Municipal Council building to demand the approval of the city's new plan to create additional areas in which to build residential housing.

Although the protest began peacefully, it intensified after the president of the Council decided to postpone the vote on the plan until Wednesday morning because five committees had not yet turned in their reports on the matter.

After the decision, some of the protesters used chemical products to set fire to trash containers, emptied trash cans in the streets and threw stones at the downtown Council building.

During the protest, there were also several confrontations between the Militarized Police and certain groups of demonstrators.

In the face of the protest, authorities closed the access routes to the Municipal Council building, where city councilors had been scheduled this morning to approve the city's Strategic Plan, which will define the parameters for Sao Paulo's growth over the next 16 years.

Approval of the plan has been demanded for months by the MTST, given that it includes the expansion of areas set aside for residential housing. EFE