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article imageBrazilian troops withdraw from Rio ahead of carnival

By AFP     Feb 22, 2017 in World

Authorities on Wednesday began withdrawing 9,000 army soldiers who had been deployed to Rio de Janeiro to provide security ahead of this week's carnival celebrations following a strike by police officers.

Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said the troops were no longer needed to keep order because Rio's civil and military police were now fully operational.

"The army should not be a substitute for the regular police," he said late Tuesday on TV Globo.

A million visitors are expected to jam Rio for four days of carnival revelry February 24 to 28.

The troops were deployed February 14 after Rio police barracks were hit by protests led by families of officers unhappy over low pay and poor working conditions.

Police are barred by law from going out on strike themselves.

The Rio protests followed a police strike in the southeastern state of Espirito Santo that plunged that region into violence, which prompted the deployment of army troops there.

Troops remained on patrol in Espirito Santo on Wednesday.

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