By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The first day of the police and firefighters’ strike in Rio passed in relative peace. Businesses and shops were open as usual, and the feeling on the streets in Rio’s popular tourist areas in the Zona Sul was one of calm.
Charlotte Linsay, an American student living in Ipanema, said yesterday, “ It seems very much ‘business as usual’ today. I haven’t seen the army on the streets at all and the Military Police were at their usual spot on the square near my apartment.”
David Chalmers, a tourist staying in Copacabana, commented, “We only arrived on Wednesday, so naturally we were alarmed when we heard a strike was happening, but everything seems to be okay so far. I’m not too concerned at this stage.”
There was however at least one robbery that occurred on the beach area between Ipanema and Leblon, a couple traveling from the U.S. had their bag stolen by two men, fortunately they were unarmed and nobody was hurt.
According to the state Communications Bureau, Agência Brasil, more than 150 police officers in Rio have been arrested or face penalties in conjunction with the strike.
The Military Police Command issued a statement yesterday evening saying that eleven arrest warrants had been issued, of which nine had already been fulfilled. Disciplinary proceedings had also been launched against 14 officers, and 129 military police investigations had been initiated against the Battalion Volta Redonda.
The fire department revealed that 123 lifeguards had been indicted for failing to serve and two high ranking officers had been dismissed from their posts.
The note from the Military Police Command confirmed that the situation throughout the state of Rio de Janeiro was normal.
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.