By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The streets of Rio were flooded with partygoers on Saturday, February 9th as many of the 492 licensed blocos that make up the Carnaval da Rua (Street Carnival) paraded for this year’s festival.
In Centro (Downtown) Rio, a reported 1.8 million people gathered for the famous bloco, Cordão da Bola Preta.
Celebrating their 95th annual Carnival, the oldest bloco in Rio paraded down Centro’s Avenida Rio Branco with the crowd spilling over into the region’s side streets.
Reports state there was confusion during the parade with some revelers becoming sick possibly from temperatures that reached 32.7 º C while other revelers where squeezed against side railings.
Three cars parked along the route were reported damaged and the crowd was also said to have been difficult to disperse at the end point in Cinelândia.
Earlier in the day Santa Teresa’s bloco, Ceu na Terra stared off the day early as the colorful and creatively dressed group and their followers left from Largo Curvelo at around 7:30 AM and then proceeded to parade to their end point, Piazza Odilo Costa Neto.
Along the way the revelers reportedly called for the return of the Bonde, a street car service for Santa Teresa that has been inactive since a 2011 accident that left five dead and over fifty injured.
In Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone), Banda de Ipanema -a bloco known partly for its LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) community following and drag queen attendees- met at Ipanema’s Praça General Osório and paraded along the beach to Leblon.
Also a traditional bloco, Banda de Ipanema attracted thousands of revelers this year, including families, as the group honored Oscar Niemeyer during their parade.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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