by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Feb 11, 2012
Brazilian authorities claimed Saturday to have broken up strikes by police in two states after arresting labor leaders, but other police and firefighters had not quit their protest over pay.
About 9,000 civilian police in Rio de Janeiro state joined the strike that started Friday when military police and firefighters walked off the job. Together, the three forces represent about 70,000 police and firefighters.
The strike started a week before the beginning of the annual Carnival blowout, which brings hundreds of thousands of party-goers to the streets of Rio de Janeiro and other parts of Brazil.
Brazil's authorities are scrambling to step up their security game ahead of major international events South America's largest economy will host: soccer's World Cup in 2014 ahead of Rio de Janeiro's welcoming the 2016 summer Olympics.
Rio's state government reacted quickly by arresting 17 police officers, 11 of them labor leaders.
Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, a political ally of President Dilma Rousseff, also signed a decree to prosecute at least 129 policemen and 123 firemen who stopped work.
"They are aware of what we did and the responsibility they have with the 16 million residents of the state," Cabral said.
Brazilian law forbids police and firefighters from unionizing or striking.
By Saturday, state officials said the strike had failed.
Chao Francisco, union president for the civilian police in Rio, said at a press conference Saturday, "It is very difficult to talk of a protest movement without participants. Out of caution and respect, the best decision is to suspend" the strike.
Rio's military police and firefighters plan to meet Monday to decide the status of their job action.
Military police in the northeastern state of Salvador de Bahia also called off their 12-day-old strike Saturday.
The strike by Bahia police unleashed widespread violence that included 157 deaths, which was double the normal rate.
The strike collapsed quickly after its leader was arrested and strikers were run out of a government building they were occupying.
In the city of Rio de Janeiro, streets were calm Saturday. "All routine services are being provided," the military police for Rio de Janeiro said in a statement.
However, strike threats continued in other parts of Brazil.
Military police from the southern state of Parana plan to meet Monday with government officials to discuss their wages.
In the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, Governor Tarso Genro is promising salary adjustments as police threaten protests.
Some civilian police leaders are calling for a nationwide strike, but have not set a date.
Global Trade News
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Eight arrested in bribery probe at Murdoch's Sun
London (AFP) Feb 11, 2012
British police widened a probe into alleged bribery by Rupert Murdoch's media empire Saturday, arresting five staff at The Sun tabloid, a member of the armed forces, a defence official and a policeman. The arrests cast a shadow over the future of Britain's biggest selling daily, following the phone hacking scandal which led to the closure of its weekly sister paper the News of the World in J ... read more
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