By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A wave of violence has surged through the streets of Salvador since military police went on strike last Wednesday in the north-eastern state of Bahia. In a movement that is gathering pace across the country, military police groups in a number of states are protesting for better salaries and working conditions.
According to report in O Globo newspaper, twenty killings and ten attempted homicides were reported in the space of just sixteen hours in Salvador yesterday, compared to a more ‘usual’ rate of thirteen murders in a full 24 hours recorded on the same day the previous week.
Shops and supermarkets in the Salvador have also also been raided, and reports of vandalism and general disorder in a number of Bahian cities have left residents across the state fearful and afraid.
President Dilma Rousseff has sent in around 2,350 federal military troops in an attempt to restore order to the region, and a further 600 are due to arrive this morning.
Bahia’s Governor, Jaques Wagner, said last night, “We are taking all the necessary measures to guarantee the safety of our citizens,” insisting that the government has always been open to negotiations with police.
He warned, “The Polícia Militar in the state of Bahia can not turn themselves into an instrument of intimidation and disorder.”
But he admitted that, despite the fact the police had already received a recent wage increase, “We still haven’t reached an ideal situation and I will continue to work hard to improve the working conditions of Bahia’s police force.”
Read more (in Portuguese).
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