Violent clashes between police and protesters during the Olympic torch relay have cast a shadow over the Rio Games, while a threatened metro strike raised fears of travel chaos.
Eight days before the opening ceremony, organisers are scrambling to put the final pieces in place. But even as athletes including Jamaican sprinting star Usain Bolt arrived, new woes kept piling up.
The latest concern was a threat by metro employees to strike from August 4, the eve of the Olympics, if they don’t get a 9.83 per cent salary raise. The metro will be vital in moving the 500,000 tourists expected to attend the Summer Games.
There was more bad news on Thursday (AEST) when an angry crowd blocked the Olympic torch parade through Angra dos Reis, a coastal resort south of Rio.
Crowds protesting lack of public transport and nearly bankrupt Rio state’s late payment of salaries attacked the procession and were driven off by police using tear gas and rubber bullets.
In footage of the clashes shared online, someone can be heard shouting triumphantly: “The torch has been put out!” as the torch bearer is hustled into the safety of a bus. (www.abc.net.au)