RIO DE JANEIRO: More than a million Rio Carnival revelers laid aside bitterness at Brazilian leaders to join wild festivities Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in what has been dubbed “the greatest show on Earth.”
Many participants said they had resolved to forget—at least until festivities end Tuesday—about lingering protests over corruption and the cost of hosting the World Cup.
The Rio tourist board said 1.3 million people joined the fray to cavort as the Marvelous City’s oldest bloco or street party group Cordao da Bola Preta danced to a raucous samba beat. A total of four million are accepted during the entire five-day event.
But there was a reminder of some of Brazil’s social problems as festivities in the northern city of Salvador were tainted by the fatal shooting of a young man.
Police said they were investigating after the 27-year-old victim was shot six times.
In neighboring Bolivia, four people were killed and more than 60 injured when a bridge collapsed onto spectators and a group of musicians marching in the opening Carnival parade in the Oruro highlands.
Homage to Ronaldo
In business center Sao Paulo, tens of thousands of people were on hand as the Gavioes da Fiel samba school hit the streets, their theme this year was an homage to the career of 2002 world soccer champion Ronaldo.
Sao Paulo, which will host the World Cup opening match on June 12, kicked off major celebrations Friday night.
Ronaldo’s float included four female “bodyguards” for the man who scored a record 15 goals in World Cup action.