UK & World News

  • 7 June 2014, 23:12

Protests Grip Sao Paulo Ahead Of World Cup

Football officials are meeting in Brazil amid violent clashes between police and protesters less than a week before the start of the World Cup.

Fifa's executive committee are meeting in Sao Paulo to discuss the unrest, the prospect of several unfinished stadiums and renewed allegations of corruption surrounding Qatar's successful bid for the 2022 tournament.

Police in Brazil have used tear gas and batons to break up protests in the city that will host the first game of the World Cup in less than a week.

A strike by subway workers in Sao Paulo affected millions of commuters and caused massive traffic jams on the night of the national team's final warm-up match before their opening game against Croatia on Thursday.

Across town there was a separate anti-government demonstration in which protesters blocked the street in front of the Central Bank in a protest against the economic policies of President Dilma Rousseff.

Police pushed back picketing strikers inside a central station after commuters tried to enter.

Three of the city's five lines were disrupted, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic to stretch as far as 155 miles (251km) as commuters turned to cars or buses.

The strike is set to continue today after the workers' union and their employers failed to reach an agreement on a pay rise.

Union leader Paulo Pereira da Silva said: "Our problem is not with the national team.

"We will cheer for them. But on October 5 (the date of a presidential election), we will send Dilma Rousseff to hell."

Bus drivers, teachers and police have staged walkouts in other cities recently to demand better pay.

The subway strike caused problems for fans going to Brazil's game against Serbia at the city's Morumbi stadium, which finished 1-0 to the hosts.

Parts of the crowd jeered the team as they laboured to victory on the eve of a tournament they are expected to win.

The first game will be played at the city's new Corinthians Arena, which is awaiting safety clearance.

The subway will be the main link to the stadium for fans, meaning officials are hard-pressed to resolve the strike.

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