Brazilian riot police prepare to clash with demonstrators
Sao Paulo - AFP
Police in Sao Paulo fired tear gas and beat back striking workers and protesting commuters with batons Friday during a subway strike that has caused chaos in the Brazilian economic capital.
"Ana Rosa station, one of the most central stations, was closed and numerous users tried to enter. Clashes broke out between picketing strikers and users and the police had to intervene" with tear gas, a military police spokesman told AFP.
Authorities also said the striking workers had been blocking subways from circulating. Globo TV showed images of police fighting back an unruly crowd with batons.
The indefinite strike, now in its second day, has raised fears of unrest when the Brazilian mega-city hosts the opening match of the World Cup in six days.
The Sao Paulo metro is the main link to the city's World Cup host stadium, and the strike could force organizers to come up with last-minute alternative transportation for tens of thousands of fans.
It has also stranded the 4.5 million passengers who use the subway system daily in the sprawling city of 20 million people.