Police strike may hit carnival in Rio
Hundreds of police and firefighters began a strike for better pay in Rio yesterday, one week before the start of Carnival, but the local military police command said all its units were working normally.
The strike got under way after union leaders rejected a deal approved by Rio’s state legislature offering a 39 per cent increase in pay for civilian and military police, firefighters and prison guards.
It also came only hours after more than 200 military police on Thursday ended a nine-day occupation of the Bahia legislature in Salvador, the state capital, launched to dramatise their demand for better pay.
But strikers within the Bahia military police said their movement was continuing, despite a massive crime wave in which more than 120 people have been murdered in and around Salvador, Brazil's third largest city, more than twice the usual homicide rate.
In Rio, calm prevailed in the streets yesterday, and the military police command said that “all its units are fully operational... There is no paralysis of any type of service for the citizen.”
The police strike threatens security at Rio's popular Carnival celebrations, billed as “the greatest show on earth”.
“A group of police officers announced a strike, but not all of them. Carnival will take place normally,” a spokesman for the Rio military police said.