Brazilians begin general strike to protest pension reform

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilians have begun a general strike that is likely to paralyze major cities across Latin America's largest country.

The Friday strike was called for by trade unions to protest a pension reform being discussed in Congress.

In Rio de Janeiro, police launched tear gas at protesters attempting to block Avenida Brasil, while residents of Sao Paulo awoke to find demonstrators burning tires on the main Rodovia Anhangüera highway.

There were no reports of injuries.

The strike is the first of its kind since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January.

The administration aims to raise the retirement age to 65 for men and 62 for women and increase workers' contributions. But protester Carolina Cacau said the plan would do away with retirement altogether.

She said: "It will make workers work until their death."