Protests against the World Cup in 13 cities have marked the worst day in another terrible week for Brazil as the government struggles with strikes, public unease, and crime less than a month before the tournament kicks off.
From early Thursday anti-World Cup protests and strikes against the government spread from São Paulo to other major cities like Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Recife, and the capital, Brasilia.
Unions of teachers, bus drivers, police and other state-employed workers strike in order to obtain higher salaries and better work conditions.
The strikes coincided with protesters against World Cup spending where thousands took their dissatisfaction to the streets.
“We love the World Cup and our national team. But we are not ready to host the tournament, and the money is better used on infrastructure, schools and hospitals,” said Juan da Silva, a sociology student from São Paolo University.
“Brazil has too many problems to deal with before we are ready to invest billions in huge sport events like the World Cup and Olympics”.
Juan da Silva was one of the approximately 8,000 protesters that rallied in São Palo during the evening. The protesters planned to march to the center of the city, but police quickly scattered the crowd using tear gas and rubber bullets.
In a speech on Thursday, President Dilma Rousseff attacked critics of her government’s Cup preparations and called on the nation to welcome Cup visitors with “the warmth and hospitality that is part of the Brazilian identity,” the Globo newspaper reported on its website.
The pressure rises on Brazil as the government scraps with the last preparations before thousands of tourists and journalist will go to South Americas biggest country.
Brazil’s last-minute rush to complete stadiums claimed another life on Thursday when a worker was electrocuted at the Arena Pantanal.
In Brasilia protesters carried banners decrying the deaths of stadium workers in the rush to finish before the tournament.
Eight workers died during the construction and renovation of the 12 stadiums that will be used during the World Cup.
Meanwhile a survey conducted by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo shows that less than half of the facilities are ready.
From the 167 announced work interventions, only 68 are ready, representing 41%.
Other 88, or about 53%, are still incomplete and will be delivered after the World Cup event, while 11 construction works were abandoned and will not get off the ground.
More strikes and demonstrations are scheduled during the upcoming weekend.
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