SAO PAULO (AP) — The Brazilian city that will host the World Cup's opening match in a week was thrown into transit chaos Thursday as subway and overland commuter train operators went on strike, putting at risk the only means that most soccer fans will have to reach the stadium.
The subway system is Sao Paulo's main public transpiration system to the Itaquerao stadium where the Cup's first game will be held on June 12.
The strike stranded many of the more than 4 million people who use Sao Paulo's public transport systems on an average weekday.
Enraged passengers kicked in large doors at some stations when they arrived to find them closed for their morning commute.
The station nearest the Itaquerao stadium was damaged by irate commuters who kicked down the metal barriers at two entryways.
There and in some other stadiums, angry passengers jumped onto the tracks to protest, though they dispersed when police arrived. Others rushed to bus stops to squeeze into the packed vehicles and make their way to work.
Thursday's strike follows others by bus, subway and overland train operators that have frustrated passengers.
"The strikes ... are getting on my nerves," said Silvia Rodrigues da Silva, who manages a small coffee shop in central Sao Paulo. "The subway station nearest my house was closed so I had wait for more than an hour to get into an overcrowded bus to come to work."
Late Wednesday a judge ordered the train operators to work at full capacity during rush hours, and at 70 percent capacity in off hours. Union members voted to go ahead with the strike anyway, despite the judge ordering that the union be fined $44,000 each day it ignores the ruling.
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