Brazil military police end walkout after spike in murders, thefts

Anadolu Agency

SALVADOR – Military police in the state of Bahia, in northeast Brazil, decided to end their strike Thursday afternoon, after nearly two days of stoppages which were accompanied by a spike in murders, violence crime and theft.

The move to end the walkout came after leaders of the striking police forces met in Salvador, Bahia state capital and World Cup host city, following a meeting with the city’s archbishop and other key city figures.

Local media reported that officials put an adjusted counter-offer on the table, which offered better conditions and led to strike leaders agreeing to call off the industrial action.

After the assembly, police officers were heard shouting in chorus: “The Military Police is back!” the G1 news portal reported.

It is not yet clear whether striking police officers will be punished or fined for their strike, deemed “unconstitutional” by a Bahia court.

The strike made headlines after Salvador and other cities witnessed a sharp increase in murders during the 42 hours that the strike was ongoing, which saw federal troops poured into the area for reinforcement.

The local police homicide unit press department calculated that 39 murders had been recorded in Salvador and the surrounding metropolitan area during the strike.

Businesses have been in lockdown in many areas after some shops and supermarkets were looted. Local buses also ran at a reduced service due to drivers’ concerns of being attacked.

Crime in general jumped threefold during the strike, police say.

Salvador is one of six Brazilian World Cup host cities to make a recent list of the world’s 50 most violent cities compiled by a Mexican non-governmental organisation, which compared homicide rates in cities with populations over 300,000.

Natal (7th) and Fortaleza (12th), also in Brazil’s northeast region, were considered even more dangerous than Salvador (13th). Manaus, Recife and Belo Horizonte also features in the ranking of most murderous cities.

Although Salvador is known for its crime, as Brazil’s first colonial capital it remains a favoured destination for a significant number of tourists, both Brazilian and foreign.

The city boasts stunning colonial architecture and over 500 years of history and vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture.

The Bahian coast is also home to some of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches and resort towns.

Written for Anadolu Agency  |  SÃO PAULO  |  17 April 2014

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