By Marion V. Ali, Staff Reporter
Brazilians have turned to their country’s metro system to show their discontent with the high level of priority that their government has given the World Cup, scheduled to open next Thursday, over their economic needs.
This time, Brazilians held a metro strike, forcing the closure of almost half of the country’s metro stations in Sao Paulo, creating a huge transport chaos which reportedly resulted in more than 125 miles of traffic jams across the city. On day two of the strike police used tear gas to break up protesters.
Workers are demanding a 10 percent pay increase and a new round of negotiations has yielded no tangible common ground.
Brazilian police have since said that on Friday, they intervened to pacify clashes between picketers and commuters trying to enter the stations.
Despite the upheavals, FIFA, football’s world governing body has said it was confident the World Cup would be successful. But the Brazilian government is under a huge amount of pressure as the only viable way for fans to reach the Itaquerao Stadium for the World Cup is on public transport.
President Dilma Rousseff has defended the country’s preparations for the World Cup. She told reporters on Friday that “Everywhere in the world, these big engineering projects always go down to the wire.” She assured that the demonstrations would not be allowed to disrupt the football event.
The protests have spanned over a year against what protesters describe as bad governance and perceived excessive spending in preparations for the World Cup and the Olympics, scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Still as tens of thousands protest, many other Brazilians say they are tired of protests and strikes and believe the country should enjoy the unique occasion of hosting the World Cup.
(Pic: BBC World/AFP)