Brazil strike chaos looms before World Cup

2014-05-15 09:14
A demonstrator winds up to return a tear gas grenade to police, outside the central train station, during a protest against the increase on bus fares in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (File, AP)

A demonstrator winds up to return a tear gas grenade to police, outside the central train station, during a protest against the increase on bus fares in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rio de Janeiro - Less than a month before the World Cup kicks off, Brazil faces a new series of potentially disruptive strikes in Rio de Janeiro.

The striking Rio bus drivers ignored a court order to provide a minimum level of service, trashing buses and causing traffic chaos in the city for the second straight day.

Federal police officers meanwhile said they were considering going on strike nationwide - expanding a three-day walkout that has affected several states - despite a court ruling forbidding them to strike during the World Cup, which opens 12 June.

The officers want their pay packages overhauled and the force itself to be restructured, and could take a decision on a nationwide strike on Wednesday or Thursday if the government does not answer their demands, said Jose Nedel Fagundes, their union's strategy chief.

"You can't ask for public security if the police force is bureaucratic, out of date and now demotivated," he told AFP. "I don't want to alarm people, but it's really going to bring everything to a halt."

The federal police are in charge of border security and immigration services, and the strike threat comes just as an estimated 600 000 foreigners are about to descend on the country for the World Cup.

Brazilian consular workers are also on strike in various cities around the world, including New York and Paris, at a time when thousands of tourists are seeking visas.

And military police went on strike on Wednesday in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported on its website, saying police stations were closed in the tourist attraction Marco Zero neighbourhood of Recife, the state capital and one of 12 World Cup host cities.

'Political action'

In Rio, striking bus drivers trashed 14 buses on Wednesday and 158 the day before, said police, bringing the total number of vehicles attacked since the strike began to 703 despite a plea from President Dilma Rousseff for non-violence in the run-up to the World Cup.

Last year's Confederations Cup was marred by huge protests, some of them violent.

The strike paralysed 60% of Rio's privately run bus fleet despite a court threatening to fine the drivers' union
$23 000 a day if it failed to keep at least 70% of buses on the road.

The strikers are demanding monthly salaries of $1 135 - a 40% raise - and an end to their double duty as drivers and fare collectors.

Officials say two million of Rio's 6.3 million people depend on buses.

Despite the deployment of military police to protect the buses in service, fear of reprisal attacks kept many drivers home.

Deep divisions exposed 

Daily newspaper O Dia ran a front-page photo of a strike-breaking driver disguised in a fake beard and glasses.

"There are more than 40 000 bus drivers and fare-collectors in Rio and this movement has 0.1% support. That shows these people's opportunism," said Rio state Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao.

The strike has exposed deep divisions in the drivers' union, Sintraturb-Rio, which opposes it but has been powerless to override the strikers, who say they feel the union does not represent them.

"The problem is that the union doesn't want to come negotiate," said strike leader Helio Teodoro.

"That claim doesn't make any sense. This is a political action by a group that has infiltrated our union and wants to paralyse Rio during the World Cup," said union boss Leilo Teixeira.

Brazil is scheduled to hold general elections in October, raising the stakes for political leaders working to stage a successful World Cup.

Read more on:    world cup 2014  |  brazil
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 2 690 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Hermanus

Houses R 2 680 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.