Crime erupts in Brazilian city as cops go on strike

February 5th, 2012 - 1:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Brasilia, Feb 5 (IANS/EFE) The Brazilian city of Salvador registered a total of 29 homicides over a 30-hour span, amid a crime wave caused by a police strike, officials said.

The Public Safety Secretariat of Salvador, capital of the northeastern state of Bahia, said in a communique that the murders occurred between Friday and the early hours of Saturday, during which time another 10 homicide attempts were reported.

The city has been plunged in a wave of violent crime since Tuesday, when the 30,000 members of the Bahia state police force went on strike demanding a pay raise.

Though Thursday a court declared the walkout “illegal” and ordered police to resume their work immediately, the strike continued until Saturday with spokespersons for the police union announcing that it would not be called off until their demands were met.

The Brazilian government Friday ordered 2,600 soldiers of the Salvadoran army sent to other cities of Bahia to provide reinforcement in patrolling the streets and announced it would send another 4,000 if the situation gets worse.

Speaking Friday night on regional television, Bahia Gov. Jacques Wagner attributed the crime wave to groups with ties to the police on strike.

“We’re taking measures to deter the actions of a group of police officers that are using reprehensible methods and spreading fear among the population, which is causing all the disturbances,” Wagner said.

“Democracy depends on the rule of law and cannot coexist with this movement, which a court has already judged illegal,” the governor said.

–IANS/EFE
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