Teachers in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, have been on strike since April 23rd demanding to be given the same pay rise as other civil servants. Teachers are also on strike in other parts of Brazil including Rio de Janeiro.

The strikes are taking place against a background of massive anger at the amount of money being spent on the upcoming football World Cup and the next Olympic Games, while public services in particular health, housing and education languish in poverty. Mass demonstrations took place in 12 cities across Brazil yesterday and in both Sao Paulo and Rio striking teachers took part as well. In the capital Brazilia, protesters stormed a government building and roads were blocked in Rio and Sao Paulo.

Last year there were mass demonstrations across the country on the same issue. As well as teachers, other workers and students, another group which is prominent in the protests this time is the homeless, thousands of whom have been displaced in order to build stadia for the prestige sports events. Anger has been further stoked by the death of at least 14 construction workers working on the $13.3 billion World Cup project.

There is no sign of an end to the teachers' strikes, nor to the protests. In fact reports say that it is planned to step up the protests during the four weeks leading up to the World Cup.

The protests have been met by riot police and during last year's demonstrations many teachers and other were injured by baton wielding police and already in the latest demonstrations there have been hundreds of arrests.