Greve in Bahia: Brazilian Police Strike Sparks Crime Wave
by Amanda Bourlier
The Brazilian state of Bahia was left police-less last week when the state’s police force declared a general strike, citing low salaries in the face of rising crime rates. The strike itself has caused an upswing in violence; more than a hundred people were murdered in Bahia’s capital and largest city, Salvador since the beginning of the strike. These events have prompted the Brazilian government to deploy three thousand soldiers and federal police to the region to restore and maintain order as negotiations take place between the government and police to end the strike. Even more troubling than an entire state left without law enforcement are reports that police officers have actually been contributing to this violence, including committing robberies and organizing roving gangs. While government officials have promised to prosecute police who engaged in illegal acts during this strike, it is unclear what if any punishment police officers will face for going on strike in the first place.
The protests come at a particularly unfortunate time for the region, as Brazil’s famous Carnival festivities are slated to begin before the end of February. While the most famous Carnival celebration takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador’s Carnival usually draws tens of thousands of visitors. According to the BBC, concern is also growing that emergency first responders in Rio de Janeiro including police officers may also decide to strike later this week.Explore posts in the same categories: Americas