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
Cop Crisis Threatens Carnival
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 engaged in shootouts in two neighborhoods Wednesday, killing at least seven suspects. (AP Photo/Ricardo...   (Associated Press)

(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.)

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