In a scene out of a MadMax prequel, the Brazilian army mobilized airborne troops and armored vehicles on Thursday to reinforce the roughly 1,200 soldiers and federal police trying to contain the chaos in the coastal state north of Rio de Janeiro. Most of the violence was centered in the state capital Vitoria, a wealthy port city ringed by golden beaches and filled with mining and petroleum companies.
With the country’s economy continuing to crater as a result of record unemployment, soaring inflation, leading to a record high murder rate in the tourism capital Rio, police in Espirito Santo are demanding a pay rise amid an economic downturn that has hammered public finances in Brazil, with many states struggling to ensure even basic health, education and security services.
As a Reuters report recounts, soldiers patrolled abandoned streets in downtown Vitoria, stopping and frisking the occasional pedestrian against shuttered store fronts. State officials said they needed hundreds more federal troops and members of an elite federal police force to help establish order and make up for the absence of some 1,800 state police who normally patrol Vitoria’s metropolitan area.
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