Salvador Police End Strike Days before Carnaval Begins

Police in Bahia voted to end a 12-day walkout during which the homicide rate doubled to more than 130 in Salvador, the state capital a few days before the kick off of Salvador Carnaval 2012

The pre 2012 Carnaval police strike in Salvador was only restored after 3,600 soldiers and federal police were forced to patrol the metropolitan area and some regions around the state. That city’s Carnival is Brazil’s second largest, and while officials vowed it would go on, many visitors canceled their trips to the city where safety is a greater concern than most

Ivan Leite, one of the strike leaders in Bahia, said after a union meeting late on Saturday that mounting public pressure to halt the action before Salvador’s carnival had influenced officers’ decision.

“We were being played against society,” Leite said, adding that officers voted to end the strike to end the “suffering” of the population.

But authorities said a government decision on Friday to halt salary payments to any officers still on strike had more influence on the vote.

Alfredo Castro, head of police in Bahia state, said that more than 3,000 army soldiers who were deployed to Salvador and smaller cities would continue to patrol until the carnival ended next week to ensure safety and an orderly transition as police return to their posts.

Through negotiations, officers in Bahia received a 6.5% pay raise, rights to some bonus payments and an amnesty against the punishment of any striking officers as long as they did not commit any crimes during the stoppage.

Some of the vandalism in the city was allegedly committed by police officers themselves, complicating negotiations with state officials who have refused the strikers’ demands that officers be pardoned for any crimes during the walkout.

President Dilma Rousseff, who late last week dispatched 3,000 federal troops to Bahia to restore order, backed state officials’ unwillingness to consider an amnesty although she had remained unwilling to say like most politicians that police should not have the right to strike.  Her participation did dissipate whatever public support the Bahina police had when she said on TV

“I don’t consider an increase of homicides on city streets, burning buses, or entering buses in hooded masks the right way of conducting the movement.” furthermore

“There can be no amnesty for illegal acts, crimes against property, crimes against people, crimes against public order,” Rousseff said on Thursday during a visit to Bahia’s neighboring state of Pernambuco. Such an amnesty,  would create “a country without rules.”

President Dilma Rousseff’s order to sent 3,500 army troops to maintain order throughout the state of Bahia brought jeeps full of soldiers with rifles and camouflage garb to take on patrolling the eerily quiet streets. Soon after these federal forces arrived, 200 of the striking police officers  –  many accompanied by their wives and children – invaded the state legislative assembly building. The Army surrounded the buildings, which let to a tense face-off of many days between the two forces of societal order.

The officers who had been inside the state assembly began leaving the building early on  February 9th. Marco Prisco, seen as a strike leader, and another officer were arrested. They have been accused of inciting other officers to commit vandalism.

A lawyer for the striking workers told the Folha newspaper that they had decided to give themselves up amid worsening conditions, with electricity and water supplies cut off.

Although many Brazilians understand the plight of the police, whose wages are low compared with many private-sector workers, the chaos caused by the walkout has brought wide condemnation of the strike by government leaders and the general public.

“It’s not possible for those who receive money and arms from the people for protection to use those arms against them,” said Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo.

Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment
One Response to Salvador Police End Strike Days before Carnaval Begins
  1. [...] The decision came just two days after a similar strike ended in the northeastern state of Bahia, which saw the homicide rate double in its capital, Salvador, during the 12 day stoppage [more] [...]

Leave a Reply to Rio Police win 38% wage Increase and say not enough | New WP.MU Site

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL
Powered by WordPress MU and WP.MU