Saturday, 10 February 2018

It’s Carnival Time! Celebrations In Sao Paulo And Rio Turn The Streets Into A Riot Of Colour With A Lot Of Bare Flesh)

Reports of shootings averaged 22 a day last month

Carnival festivals have taken over Rio de Janeiro and transformed the streets into a riot of colour as revellers dance and drink at block parties with names like 'fire in the underpants'.  

Over six million people, including 1.5 million visitors, are expected to take to the streets of Rio for the annual celebrations, which pit the city's 13 best samba schools against one another in ornate parades that can cost over $2million (£1.4million) a piece.

To launch the 'world's biggest party' on Friday, officials handed a glittering key to the city to King Momo, a figurehead who presides over the partying and who, according to legend, was expelled from Mount Olympus before moving to Rio, the so-called 'wonderful city.'

But the celebrations this year come amid escalating violence and a spike in yellow fever cases throughout Brazil.

The streets were turned into a sea of colour

Gains made after police began a 'pacification' program in 2008, pushing drug gangs out of favelas, have been unraveling. An economic crisis dried up funding, and critics say the government did not make good on promised social advances for the slums.

Reports of shootings averaged 22 per day in January 2018, up from 16 last year, said Fogo Cruzado, a group which tracks armed violence in Rio.

In recent days, a three-year-old girl was killed in an attempted robbery and a thirteen-year-old boy died after being caught in crossfire between police and traffickers as he made his way home after a soccer game.

'We live with our hearts torn apart by so much violence,' Rio's mayor Marcelo Crivella said on Friday at an event inaugurating the festivities. 'Carnival at this moment is about resurgence, about hope,' he added.

Many revellers joined unofficial block parties to drink and dance in colourful costumes

Celebrations this year come amid escalating violence

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