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Police in Rio end strike before Carnival

The Americas Post - Rio de Janeiro police decided not to spoil the party for everyone during Carnival

Thousands of state police in Rio de Janeiro returned to work on Tuesday after a two-week strike that unleashed a wave of violent crime, disrupted preparations for carnival and raised concerns about safety for the 2014 World Cup.

The police, who demand better pay, ended the strike late Monday to calm fears that the protest could affect the famous Rio Carnival with violence similar to that seen days before in the state of Bahia. A recent police strike there provoked a wave of looting, attacks and over 150 murders, twice the usual rate.

Police returned to work “to help Rio de Janeiro and tourism,” said police union organizer Fernando Bandeiro. Regardless, the strike just before the carnival angered many in the city of 6.5 million inhabitants.
The protest also highlighted concerns about security in the next World Cup, to be held in 12 cities, and the 2016 Olympics, which will host Rio de Janeiro.

Police unions in Rio and other Brazilian states not ruled out other actions after the carnival. The Rio state assembly last week approved an increase of 13 percent in police salaries, and an another next year, bringing monthly wages to 1,816 reais ($ 1,100). The increase is only half of what the strikers had demanded. 

Carnival begins Friday and ends on February 22.