SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian homeless workers group that said it would not stage protests during the World Cup nevertheless held a demonstration in Sao Paulo on Wednesday, a day before the city hosts its second match there.
Several thousand members of the Homeless Workers Movement blocked one of Sao Paulo's main freeways to demand more low-cost housing in the city of 11 million.
The group said right before the monthlong World Cup began on June 12 that it had reached an agreement with the government and wouldn't protest during the soccer tournament. But group members said they are now protesting because city council members are trying to block rules that would help them get more affordable housing.
In the weeks leading up to the World cup, the movement had staged some of the largest demonstrations in the city. Protests so far have failed to become as large as they did last year during the Confederations Cup, the warm-up to FIFA's premier event, when more than 1 million Brazilians were out on the streets on a single day.
A smaller group also demonstrated on Wednesday in another World Cup host city to demand better public transportation. In an attempt to disperse the group, police officers in Porto Alegre used tear gas and stun grenades on protesters.