Brazilian Military Police Officer Pepper-Sprays Woman During Rio De Janeiro Protests (PHOTO)

PHOTO: Brazilian Officer Pepper-Sprays Female Protester In The Face

As nationwide protests continue in Brazil, local news media estimated that approximately 240,000 people took to the streets Monday to voice their frustration over issues ranging from poor access to services and the high cost of the upcoming World Cup, to heavy-handed policing.

While many of the protests were peaceful, a few in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte on Monday were marred by looting and clashes with police. Images from the protests have proliferated on social media, making headlines around the world. One particularly jarring photo has defined the protests for an international audience.

Associated Press photographer Victor R. Caivano captured this powerful image of a military police officer pepper-spraying a female protester during a demonstration in Rio on Monday night.

(Story continues below)police pepper sprays womanAP Photo/Victor R. Caivano

Business Insider called the photo, in which the unidentified woman appears to take a blast of pepper spray to the face at close range, the protests' "defining image."

The blog goes on to compare it to a recent photo out of Turkey that shows a woman in a red dress being sprayed with tear gas. That photo served to galvanize support for the protests against the government of Prime Minister Erdogan.

Erdogan has vowed to bring an end to the mass demonstrations, and security forces carried out raids and detained people suspected of involvement in violence against police, according to the CBC.

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