By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last night the leader of Sindpol, the civil police union, Francisco Chao, announced that the civil police would be suspending their strike action in Rio temporarily. However, firefighters and military police (PMs) have decided to continue with their strike, which has potential to threaten security in Rio ahead of the start of Carnival this week.
“The timing is critical [and] security … comes first. Out of caution and respect, the best decision is to suspend [strike action],” said Mr. Chao, who added that the suspension of the strike did not mean it was canceled.
Bahia’s military police have also decided to call off their strike action after twelve days, which saw violence in the state capital, Salvador, and a spike in the local murder rate, as well as police occupying the state assembly.
Back in Rio, military police and firefighters are set to decide whether or not to continue with strike action today (Sunday).
The firefighters’ union spokesperson Cristiane Daciolo reminded government officials that she was open to discuss matters (given the union leaders had been arrested) and threatened to take matters to a “federal level” if talks do not bear fruit by Tuesday.
Thousands of army reinforcements and tactical officers from Bope were said to be on standby on Friday and Saturday, but it appeared that Rio remained quiet – even in the sensitive communities with UPPs.
Rio Governor Sérgio Cabral referred to the strike action as “unsuccessful”, saying that the “overwhelming majority” of police and firefighters had seen their responsibility to the state’s 16 million residents, and the city’s visitors, as more important.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.