Cop Crisis Threatens Carnival

Rio deals with mass police resignations just ahead of festival
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2008 12:04 PM CST
Police patrol the Jacarezinho neighborhood during an anti-drug raid in Rio de Janeiro, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. Heavily armed police cracking down on gangs ahead of Rio's famed carnival celebrations...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A wave of police resignations has hit Rio de Janeiro at the worst possible time, the BBC reports, with Brazil's famous Carnival parades set to begin tomorrow. Forty-three senior officers resigned in protest over the firing of their commander last week; though the city can ill-afford such a crisis, officials say they expect the festival to go off hitch-free.

The police commander was fired for allowing his men to hold public demonstrations demanding higher wages, which Rio governor Sergio Cabral termed insubordination. But Cabral now has a manpower shortage with more than 700,000 people preparing to descend on the city for its biggest event of the year. There’s also a serious leadership void; 17 of the departing officers headed battalions. (Read more Brazil stories.)