Strikes in World Cup host city

Sao Paulo transport strike

Police in Brazil have used tear gas to disperse protesters outside the Ana Rosa metro (public transport system) station, as a workers’ strike entered its second day, causing chaos in the largest city, Sao Paulo.

Nearly half of the stations were closed and traffic choked the streets of the city, which will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup next Thursday. There were more than 200km of traffic jams in the morning rush hour.

Metro workers are demanding a pay rise of at least 10%. A new round of negotiations has failed and the strike will continue. A military police spokesman said officers intervened after clashes broke out as commuters tried to get through the picket line of striking workers to enter the station.

Brazil has seen a year of street protests against bad governance and perceived excessive spending in preparations for the World Cup and the Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host in 2016.

Football’s world governing body, Fifa, said on Thursday it was confident the World Cup would go ahead and would be a success. “I’m an optimist. After the tournament kicks off, I think there will be a better mood,” Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.

Source: BBC