Thousands of workers left a government-owned steel mill west of Rio de Janeiro after a three-day strike and stoned police and military trucks Thursday to protest the army's killing of five strikers.
Police said the five workers died of bullet and club wounds when bayonet-wielding soldiers entered the mill and tried to oust the workers by force. The total number of wounded was estimated at 43, including three soldiers hospitalized with tear gas inhalation and injuries caused by sticks and stones.Three of the deaths occurred late Wednesday when 800 soldiers backed by light wheeled tanks invaded the National Steel Co. smelting and rolling plant at Volta Redonda, 110 miles west of Rio de Janeiro. Another two strikers died in the hospital Thursday of their injuries, police said.
Thursday the strikers left the factory after all-night talks and marched through the city protesting the deaths, police said. They stoned police and army trucks and soldiers fired shots in the air, but no new deaths were reported.
They were the first reported deaths in clashes between the army and strikers since the 1985 end of military rule. President Jose Sarney on Thursday called an emergency meeting of the military-dominated National Defense Council.