Protests, strikes roil Brazil ahead of the World Cup

Bus drivers and fare collectors in Sao Paulo walked out in protest for a second day on Wednesday. Sao Paulo is expected to host the first match of the World Cup in less than a month. (Reuters)

After seven years of preparations, Brazil is just weeks away from opening day of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and things are not looking good.

Key infrastructure and stadiums are not quite complete, concerns about safety are rising in Rio, protesters have taken to the streets in angry clashes with police, and now transportation worker and police officer strikes are rolling through Sao Paulo, Rio de Janero and several other cities.

Fare collectors and bus drivers walked off the job on Tuesday and Wednesday in Sao Paulo, which officials estimated affected some 230,000 commuters, according to Reuters. Police officers in at least 14 Brazilian states, went on strike Tuesday to demand better pay and working conditions.

Ahead of the June 12 start of the tournament in Sao Paulo, the country is on edge, The Post's Dom Phillips reports in Rio:

Sitting outside the orange tent where he rents stand-up paddle­boards on Copacabana Beach, Jorge Soares was of two minds about Brazil’s World Cup, despite the extra money it is already bringing in as tourists arrive in town.

“As a businessman, it’s a good thing,” he said. “But as a citizen, I see the World Cup works as futile for the population.”

Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip

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