By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Over the evenings of Sunday, March 3rd, and Monday, March 4th, the fourteen samba schools in Rio’s Grupo Especial presented their ‘samba enredos’ (thematic samba compositions) to tens of thousands of appreciative onlookers. The schools mainly presented parades centered around a historical theme, with plenty of room for references to inequality, injustice, and the unsolved murder of Marielle Franco.

After a total of around twenty-one hours of parades, the favorites to emerge from the two nights are generally considered to be two of the most illustrious samba schools,

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