Brazilian police officers were forced to use teargas and rubber bullets in Sao Paulo yesterday after the second day of industrial action by Sao Paulo’s underground workers led to clashes between strikers and authorities.
Just days before the World Cup is due to kick-off in the city, police decided to use force against Metro workers picketing outside the Ana Rosa station in central Sao Paulo.
According to police, they had intervened after picketing strikers and commuters had clashed, a claim picketers deny.
In what was the second day of industrial action, nearly half of all the city’s Metro stations were closed leading to traffic jams of more than 125 miles and many people unable to get to work.
The strikers decided to continue with the strike after talks broke down between union bosses and the Sao Paulo state government company.
The Trade Union of Workers in Transport Business Underground are demanding a 10 per cent pay rise but the state government company are reluctant to go higher than their 8.7 per cent offer.
In pictures: Protests against the World Cup 2014 in Brazil
In pictures: Protests against the World Cup 2014 in Brazil
A member of the Homeless Workers Movement carries a Brazilian flag past burning tires during a protest against the money spent on the World Cup near Itaquerao stadium which will host the international soccer tournament's first match in Sao Paulo
Members of Brazil's Homeless Workers' Movement (MTST), who are living at the "People's World Cup Camp" which houses some 2,800 families of the movement in the district of Itaquera near Sao Paulo's World Cup stadium, Arena de Sao Paulo, block a road during a protest against the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo
Protesters in Sao Paulo, the country's biggest city, had blocked a major thoroughfare with burning tires and disrupted commutes elsewhere. The banner reads "Urban resistance"
Protesters burn tyres as they demonstrate against the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 outside the Arena Corinthians stadium in Sao Paulo
Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo
Black Bloc protesters Group clash with policemen during a protest against the World Cup in Sao Paulo
Hundreds of demonstrators protest against money spent on the World Cup preparations in Sao Paulo
Protests are taking place in various cities of the country and questioned the high spending on construction of stadiums and fight for better conditions and budget for health and education
People burn the national flag as they take part in the "International Day of World Cup Resistance" protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 along the streets of Sao Paulo
Brazilians are angry at the billions spent to host the World Cup, much of it on 12 ornate football stadiums, one-third of which critics say will see little use after the big event
A man shouts slogan during the protest in Sao Paulo
Members of the Workers Without a Roof Movement (MTST) protest near the Arena Corinthians stadium against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in Sao Paulo. The Arena Corinthians will host the opening match of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 between Brazil and Croatia
View of the illegal camp known as 'Copa del Pueblo' (People's Cup) set 4 kilometers from Arena Corinthians stadium two weeks ago by members of the group Movement of Workers Without Roof, who protest against the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 outside that stadium in Sao Paulo
People gather to protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil faced a test of its security preparations for the World Cup as demonstrators disgusted at the tournament's price tag called widespread protests. Ongoing strikes by police and teachers and the threat of a nationwide strike by federal police also raised fears of chaos with just few weeks to go until football's biggest global spectacle
A man carries a doll of Fuleco, the FIFA World Cup 2014 mascot during a rally to protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in Rio de Janeiro
An anti-government demonstrator dressed as comic book character Batman sits atop a monument of former slave Zumbi dos Palmares during a protest against 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro
An anti-government demonstrator holds a banner atop a monument of former slave Zumbi dos Palmares during a protest against 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro
Tear gas disperses demonstrators at a protest against the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro
Black Bloc protesters Group clash with policemen during a protest against the World Cup on the evening in Sao Paulo
Demonstrators hold a banner 'FIFA go home' as they protest against the World Cup FIFA soccer in Sao Paulo
The Unions have said that the strikes will continue indefinitely until their demands are met.
Union leader, Sergio Magalhaes, said: “It has been proved again that the government doesn’t want to negotiate we will continue with the strike until they decide to talk to us in a serious way.”
With the first game between Croatia and hosts Brazil set to take place in Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians on Thursday, the strikes are providing a major headache for Brazilian organisers and Fifa.
Arena Corinthians is situated on the outskirts of the city, with the best way of getting there being by Metro train.
There is a worry that if the strikes continue into Thursday, many could be left with no way of getting to the tournament’s curtain raiser, which would be a major embarrassment for the Brazilian government.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is still confident the World Cup will be a massive success.
This week she defended the government’s World Cup preparations and was adamant that demonstrations would not disrupt the tournament.
Rousseff’s optimism was shared by Fifa President Sepp Blatter who said that he was confident the World Cup would be a success.
He said: "I'm an optimist. After the tournament kicks off, I think there will be a better mood
"We at Fifa, we are confident. It will be a celebration."