By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Military police, civil police and firefighters in Rio de Janeiro have declared a strike as of midnight last night. Their immediate demands include a basic rate salary increase to R$3,500, and the release of Corporal firefighter Benevenuto Dalciolo, who was arrested on Wednesday night as he flew in to Rio de Janeiro’s Tom Jobim airport from Salvador, where he had been taking part in the strikes in Bahia.
The Secretary for the Civil Defense Department and fire brigade commander, Colonel Sérgio Simões, announced yesterday afternoon that 14,000 army troops would be deployed to patrol the state.
An additional 300 troops from the National Security Force are being made available to provide fire services. The Parachute Regiment are also reportedly on standby to help keep the peace.
“What matters most to us is the safety of the population,” confirmed Simôes. “Firefighters going on strike is unacceptable. It is cowardly, because it is not just labor relations that are at stake, but people’s lives.”
With Carnival due to begin next Friday, concerns are high over the safety of the event. The Secretary for Public Security, José Mariano Beltrame, reassured the public:
“[Security at Carnival] is guaranteed. We have a protocol that we used in the Pan American Games and this protocol is currently being presented to the Eastern Military Command, [and to] all [their security] institutions.”
He affirmed that any security problem in Rio would be resolved with dialog: “I trust in the good sense of the police.”
Read more (in Portuguese).
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