Rio de Janeiro mayor faces flak for ruining ‘world’s greatest party’

February 13th, 2010 - 2:56 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 13 (ANI): Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Eduardo Paes has been accused of dampening spirits ahead of the city’s famous carnival with his “zero tolerance” approach towards drinking, prostitution and debauched behaviour.

Paes, 40, wants to end the Brazilian city’s general lawlessness with a campaign he calls “Shock of Order” based on the police tactics that brought spiralling crime under control in New York in the 1990s.

But his campaign has not been met with favour, and some have dubbed him a killjoy, as the party spirit at this year’s Rio carnival, which is known as ‘world’s greatest party’, would not be the same.

Under his tough measures, those who drink too much beer at giant carnival street parties and use gutters as lavatories face a night in a prison cell.

Nearly 100 people have already been arrested ahead of the carnival for an indiscretion always tolerated in the past.

To keep beaches pristine the mayor has also outlawed traditional skewered carnival foods like fried shrimp and grilled cheese sticks.

Beach football, which is revered in Brazil, is banned until 5pm and Rio’s infamous waterfront pickup club for legal prostitutes on Copacabana beach has been closed to make way for a museum.

Part of the motivation for the carnival clean up is Brazil’s effort to shine when it hosts the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games.

The carnival is big business for the city and singers including Madonna, Beyonce and Alicia Keys will be there this year, but many of Rio’s residents say the event is being overly sanitised and its character sacrificed.

“The plan is doing the impossible, making Rio square. They’re trying to get rid of the grit that gives Rio its flavour,” the Telegraph quoted Marcus Paulo Reis, a 36-year-old local businessman, as saying.

Other measures to bring order to the chaotic carnival include having beach vendors operate out of uniform, indistinguishable white tents instead of the distinctive hand-painted ones they used in the past.

The vendors have also been limited to renting out 100 beach chairs and 30 umbrellas each.

“The beach is an emblematic place. If we can succeed in organising the beach, it means we can organise the city,” Rodrigo Bethlam, Rio’s public order secretary, stated.

In Rio many people said they would ignore the rules, and some of them have already started.

“The law exists but you’re in Brazil. You just have to walk along here to see all the rules being ignored,” Bernardo Braga, 26, on Ipanema beach, said. (ANI)

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