Squatters seize land near Sao Paulo World Cup stadium - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Squatters seize land near Sao Paulo World Cup stadium

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Roughly 3,000 low-income Brazilian families have pitched tents near Sao Paulo's World Cup Stadium in protest of rising rents. (Source: CNN) Roughly 3,000 low-income Brazilian families have pitched tents near Sao Paulo's World Cup Stadium in protest of rising rents. (Source: CNN)
Maria das Dores leads the nightly assembly at the tent settlement.  (Source: CNN) Maria das Dores leads the nightly assembly at the tent settlement. (Source: CNN)
Protesters marched to the foot of Sao Paulo stadium for housing relief. (Source: CNN) Protesters marched to the foot of Sao Paulo stadium for housing relief. (Source: CNN)
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(CNN) – As the World Cup is about to kick off, Brazilian President Dilma Russeff declares her country ready for the biggest show in sports.

But how smooth that show runs depends in part on the country's subway workers. Metro staff in Rio de Janeiro voted on Tuesday not to go on strike. But there's still uncertainty over what workers in Sao Paulo will do.

Another group trying to put pressure on the Brazilian government is the country's working poor. They are struggling beneath the shadow of the world's biggest football tournament.

A patchwork of plastic tents has been erected on an empty piece of land right near the Sao Paulo's World Cup stadium.

More than 3,000 lower income families have pitched their tents there, hoping to use the world cup to pressure the government for subsidized housing.

They call the settlement the People's Cup. During the day there aren't a lot of people there.

Jucilene de Oliveira is at the settlement with two of her daughters. She had been paying $350 for rent.

"We paid rent, then food and clothes," de Oliveira said. "It was too much."

At the end of each month, she and her husband were left with nothing to put towards a home of their own.

"We don't' want anything for free," Oliveira said. "We want them to come up with housing that we can afford, paying monthly.

She shows the kitchen where squatters prepare meals.

The settlement is divided into quadrants. Many families live there, others simply erect tents as a way of joining the movement and getting their names on the list of house-seekers.

Some women arrive and tie up plastic tarps to create a line of tents.

One woman says that because of the World Cup, rent went up.

Rents have risen by double digits in recent years, though it is hard to say how much is due to the world cup.

The settlement fills up at night as families return from work and others turn out for the nightly assembly.

"I always liked the World Cup, I was Brazilian through and through," a woman said. "But this cup and the stadium are making people angry."

Maria das Dores coordinates land invasions for the Homeless Workers Movement. She says the World Cup has done nothing to help poor people.

"The legacy is higher rents and pushing people further outside of the city to the peripheries," das Dores said.

The Homeless Workers Movement has become the single biggest force out on the streets of Sao Paulo, with marchers of more than 10,000.

They've closed off main avenues and marched to the foot of the Sao Paulo stadium.

All the pressure appears to have paid off. The government just announced that it will put the squatters on a list to get housing. But the families say if they don't get guarantees fast, they will march on the opening game itself.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

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