In Brazil, group scores victory in land protest before World Cup

L.A. Times

With the start of soccer’s World Cup tournament just days away, officials agreed Monday to demands that a piece of land occupied by poor families be used for low-income housing, but much of the rest of Sao Paulo remained paralyzed by a subway strike.

Of all the demonstrations in the weeks before the World Cup, which begins Thursday, the Homeless Workers Movement had put the most people on the street. Protests and strikes have taken aim at what participants say is Brazil’s overspending and misplaced priorities focusing on the international sporting event.

A smaller number of transit workers have managed to bring much of South America’s largest city to a halt since Thursday, and failed again to reach a settlement with the state government Monday. Soccer’s governing organization has demanded that a solution be found soon.

The transit workers decided late Monday to suspend their strike until Thursday, when they promised to walk off the job again unless officials meet their demands.

The Homeless Workers Movement said the agreement to end the land occupation was a “great victory.”

“The conquests … will mean benefits for the millions of families that suffer due to Brazil’s housing problem,” it said in a statement.

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