By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The U.S. Embassy in Brazil has issued travel advice urging its citizens to postpone any non-essential travel to Salvador and the surrounding state of Bahia following the unrest caused by the Polícia Militar (Military Police) strike which began on February 1st.
The official statement said “U.S. citizens should continue to monitor media reports about security conditions” in the region “until security conditions have stabilized”.
On Monday police officers clashed with soldiers who had been sent in to remove them from the State Assembly; rubber bullets were fired at protesters, who are demanding improved pay and conditions.
Although no American citizens (or other foreigners) are known to have been caught up in the ongoing stand-off between striking military police officers, their supporters and the army, the shortage of security is directly affecting popular tourist and business destinations in the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia.
The fact that Carnival is also just two weeks away is also causing some concern, as it is normally accompanied by a big influx of tourists to Salvador.
The murder rate is said to have more than doubled in Salvador since the police strike started, as well as incidents of looting and vandalism. Over 3,000 federal troops have been brought in to keep order.
Police in Rio are also set to go on strike, if a deal is not reached by tomorrow (February 8th).
Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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