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Activists briefly extinguish Olympic flame amid teacher salary controversy in Rio

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A group of teachers protesting the government’s inability to pay them stopped the Olympic Torch procession on Wednesday.

Olympic Torch Relay Winds Through Recife, Brazil Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

After two failed attempts, protesters in Brazil finally extinguished the Olympic flame. The traditional procession was interrupted on Wednesday evening by an array of Brazilian teachers protesting delayed salary payments to government employees. The group stole the torch and put it out before being dispersed by the country’s military.

Amateur photographers in Angra dos Reis were able to catch the protest on video.

The military reportedly used tear gas and rubber bullets to drive away the activists. One child was injured as a result.

This protest was the first to douse the flame that had made the arduous crossing to South America from Greece. On June 28, a man was arrested after throwing a bucket of water at the flame. Just over three weeks later, a protester armed with a fire extinguisher broke into the torch procession and sprayed carbon dioxide at the carrier, but failed to drench the flame.

A previous torch event also ended in tragedy when military officials had to shoot and kill a jaguar that had been used as the Olympic mascot after she escaped from her enclosure on June 22.

Despite the inconvenience, an Olympic official brushed off the protest.

“The torch often goes out and is re-lit,” said Rio 2016 spokesman Philip Wilkinson. “The flame is never extinguished.”