With seven days to go until the first game of the World Cup, transit workers in Sao Paulo have gone on strike. As the Associated Press reports, that jeopardizes transportation options for the large majority of fans attending the Cup's first game, which also involves the host country.
The workers' union for Sao Paulo's subway and commuter trains systems went on strike Thursday, demanding a raise of at least 10 percent after turning down an offer of 8.7 percent. The strike shut down two of Sao Paulo's subway lines, leading "enraged passengers" to kick in subway station doors and barriers, damaging stations, and "extreme congestion on main roadways, with the government's transit authority saying the city was seeing its worst traffic of the year so far," according to AP. Some workers maintained three of the five subway lines in the city, though the open lines operated below capacity, and an influx of passengers next week will strain an already diminished system. The timing could not be worse (or better, if you're in the union.)
Brazil, which hosts the World Cup this year and the Summer Olympics in 2016, has faced a rash of preparation issues for both. In April, the Rio preparations were called the "worst ever" by officials from the International Olympic Committee (but don't expect the city to lose the games). As for this month's World Cup, AP reported earlier this week that "there are still concerns about the country's readiness. Doubts remain about whether some stadiums will be fully ready, and it's already known that not all promised infrastructure work will be completed."
Along with Sao Paulo's transit workers, protests from Brazil's other citizens are expected once the World Cup gets underway, as a majority of Brazilians believe hosting the tournament has had a negative effect on the country.