Brazilian police use tear gas to urge transit strikers to return to work ahead of World Cup


Demonstrators run from tear gas fired by police outside the Ana Rosa subway station in Sao Paulo during the fifth day of metro workers’ strike on Monday. (Stringer/Reuters)

The phrase “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” must not be a thing in Portuguese. Because to goad subway workers, who’ve been on strike protesting for higher wages, back to work, Brazilian police in Sao Paulo decided to use tear gas on Monday. This comes just days before the country’s World Cup is set to kick off in the city.

The police’s efforts, which Amnesty International have condemned, seemed to work, as the strikers decided to suspend the strike for two days and revisit the issue on Wednesday, the BBC reports.


(Mario Angelo/AP)

(Mario Angelo/AP)

(Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)

The metro strike has been an ever-enlarging thorn in Sao Paulo’s side as the World Cup nears its Thursday kickoff and tourists begin to flood the city. Locals had already been dealing with a matrix of traffic gridlock that one local TV network said totaled 106 miles, the Independent reports. And as tourists began to arrive en masse on Monday, lines for cabs at Sao Paulo’s airport stretched over two hours long.

Four million people use Sao Paulo’s Metro ever day, the Wall Street Journal reports, and the Brazilian government expects that 24,000 will use it to attend Thursday’s World Cup opener. The city kept the Metro open by using managers to man the stations, but a

The city’s transit workers began their strike on Thursday, demanding a 35 percent salary increase. After a labor judge ruled the strike was illegal, they lowered their demand to a 12.2 percent increase. The government is offering an 8.7 percent salary increase and is refusing to rehire any fired workers.

Along with the logistical issues, a mechanical problem plagued Mexico’s World Cup team on Monday. Their team’s bus broke down outside their hotel in Santos, Sao Paulo, leading them to have to deal with the terrible traffic in a caravan of cabs to get to their practice facility. The players took it all in stride, though, judging by this smiley selfie one group posted on Monday.

“Our bus has shrunk hahahahaha,” Mexican captain Rafael Marquez wrote to go with the selfie of himself and teammates Marco Fabian, Hector Herrera and Alfredo Talavera. Here’s to hoping Brazil’s problems shrink, too.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · June 10

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