113 dead in Brazil state as police strike continues

RIO DE JANEIRO — About 113 people have been killed in a crime wave since Saturday, as police continue to strike in Brazil’s Espirito Santo state, local media reported Thursday.

The police strike blockade started on Saturday and there is no end in sight. As a result, crimes like murders and lootings are rampant in the state. Public schools have been temporarily closed and transportation suspended, and authorities have urged people to stay at home. The local commerce sector has estimated a loss of about 180 million reais (USD57.5 million), according to the local news website G1.

Representatives of the striking police, including some of the officers’ wives, blocked the precincts and prevented officers and police cars from leaving for patrol. They demanded higher wages and better working conditions for the officers.

Police forces in Brazil are divided into a Civil Police, which handles investigations, and a Military Police (PM), which handles patrolling and repression. Police in Brazil are notoriously underpaid in general, but PM personnel in Espirito Santo have one of the lowest wages in the entire country.

Earlier this week, the state requested federal aid. The army and the National Security Force ordered thousands of officers to patrol during the police strike. However, despite tanks on the streets and heavily armed soldiers, the violence continues. PNA/Xinhua-northboundasia.com