Skip to main content

Brazil sends 3,500 troops into Salvador amid police strike

By Shasta Darlington, CNN
updated 12:59 PM EST, Mon February 6, 2012
Brazilian soldiers patrol the streets of Salvador on February 5, 2012, following a strike by military police
Brazilian soldiers patrol the streets of Salvador on February 5, 2012, following a strike by military police
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police went on strike last week
  • Since then 93 people have been killed
  • Police are demanding higher wages
  • Neither side is talking about a negotiated end

Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN) -- Some 3,500 troops are being deployed in the northern Brazilian city of Salvador to rein in a wave of looting and killings set off by a police strike that started last week.

Soldiers surrounded the state legislature on Monday where striking police were holed up in a tense standoff just two weeks before the start of Carnival, which attracts thousand of tourists to Salvador.

Brazilian television showed images of troops firing rubber bullets in an attempt to gain access to the legislature, which had been taken over by some 4,000 striking police and their families.

Police in the state of Bahia declared a strike last Tuesday to demand higher wages. They set up roadblocks and residents denounced a wave of crime.

Police patrols largely disappeared from the streets, and since then 93 people have been killed according to the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper -- double the number in the same period the year before.

On Sunday, the presence of troops -- some patrolling streets in armored personnel carriers -- calmed nerves and reined in looting.

"The Army's actions have gone well, they've been very positive with the presence of troops patrolling the city," the interim Defense Minister Gen. Enzo Martins Peri told state-run Agencia Brasil.

"More and more troops are arriving and we're approaching 3,500," the defense minister said. "This shows the determination of the federal government to support the government of Bahia."

People returned to the beach and tourists strolled down the cobbled streets, which would normally fill with revelers and bands during the city's Carnival festivities which begin in two weeks.

But the standoff on Monday raised tensions yet again with both sides refusing to negotiate.

Salvador is one of Brazil's most violent cities. It will host some of the matches in the 2014 World Cup.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT