Brazil police protest spreads to Rio

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RIO DE JANEIRO: A partial police shutdown over unpaid wages put Rio de Janeiro on edge Friday (Saturday in Manila), sparking fears of chaos similar to that seen in a neighboring Brazilian state where police are in revolt and criminals have run amok. Morale among street police is low as a result of nearly bankrupt Rio state’s inability to pay full wages, as well as brutal crime fighting that has seen more than 3,000 officers killed in Rio since 1994—a casualty rate exceeding that of US troops in World War II, according to a recent study. Police, who are classified as military, are barred by the constitution from going on strike or demonstrating. To get around that law, female relatives of officers blocked the entrances to several Rio police bases, including the elite Shock Battalion—and personnel made no effort to come out. Police authorities said in a statement that protests were taking place outside 27 of Rio’s 100 police stations, with five reported by Globo television as blockaded.

AFP

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