- Title: BRAZIL: CHILDREN PARADE AT START OF RIO CARNIVAL.
- Date: 1st March 2003
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) REVELLER, ANGELO QUEIROZ, SAYING: "We are here to enjoy the carnival and that is all that matters, nothing more, no violence, just fun." GV/MCU: VARIOUS OF POLICE PATROLLING THE CITY (4 SHOTS) MV/PAN: POLICE INSPECTING TAXI FILLED WITH PEOPLE HEADING TOWARDS CARNIVAL PARTIES MCU: (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese), REVELLER, DIOGO WAGNER SAYING: "This is good, there has to be a police presence but good has to overcome evil." GV: POLICE INSPECTING TAXI
- Embargoed: 16th March 2003 12:00
- Location: SALVADOR DA BAHIA AND RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Crime,Entertainment,General,Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA2EE08BKEJ32S3RACA7HX20MA3
- Story Text: The world renowned Rio de Janeiro Carnival celebrations have gotten underway with hundreds of children parading through the Sambodromo at the official start of pre-Lenten bash.
Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians have taken to the streets throughout Brazil's main cities on Friday (February 28) as Carnival celebrations get underway.
In the historic port city of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil's Cultural Minister, musician Gilberto Gil (Jeel), helped thousands get celebrations started as he performed on one of several large trucks blasting music and with thousands dancing in the streets.
In Rio de Janeiro, the world famous Carnival got underway with hundreds of children parading through Rio's Sambodromo in what is the first official parade of Carnival.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators gathered in the famed arena to watch the 12 samba schools strictly for children kick the celebrations off. Each of the 12 children schools are given 40 minutes to parade through the Sambodromo.
An independent league of samba schools for children was established in May of 1988, uniting children from various communities throughout Rio and helping them with educational, professional and athletic programs and grants.
Among the schools participating in this year's first official parade is Cidade (See-dad) Imperial (Eem-peh-ree-al), Coracao (Kor-ah-zone) Unidos do Ciep (See-yep), Miuda (Mee-u-dah) do Cabucu (Kah-boo-koo) and Mangueira (Man-gay-rah) do Amanha (Ah-man-hah) who performed for the first time in last year's celebrations.
But Rio's carnival celebrations is not restricted to the Sambodromo.
Thousands of revellers filled the streets of Rio across approximately 32 blocks to mark the pre-Lenten celebrations.
Earlier in the day, the keys of the city were presented to Rey Momo, or Fat King, who will preside over the celebrations that run over the next five days.
On Thursday (February 27), the Brazilian government order federal troops to help police units guard Rio after a wave of violence broke out early in the week between drug gangs and authorities.
Rio authorities said the gangs, which run the lucrative drugs and arms trade from slum strongholds and are often dubbed the "parallel power" to the state by the media, had ordered the violence in retaliation for tough police action against them.
Brazilian authorities moved the jailed drug lord believed to be behind the attacks to a prison in Sao Paolo (sow POW-loh) state described as the most secure in Brazil.
Luiz Fernando da Costa (loo-EES fer-NAHN-do dah COHS-tah), who goes by the name of Fernandinho Beira-Mar (fair-nahn-DEEN-yoh BAE-rah mar) (Freddy Seashore), was transported by air force plane from Bangu 1 (bahn-GOO) maximum security prison outside Rio to an isolated cell at the Presidente Bernardes (preh-see-DEHN-tae bair-NAR-dehs) prison.
Da Costa, Brazil's most notorious drug baron had been caught co-ordinating his criminal operations from inside the first prison.
More than 30 buses were set on fire or vandalized on Monday (February 24) and Tuesday (February 25) and criminals set off home-made bombs and fired shots at shops that ignored their order to remain shut. Another seven buses were attacked on Thursday.
In response to the violence, police enacted "Operation Safe Rio" on Wednesday (February 26), sweeping through the area to root out criminals. At least seven people died in two slums during shootouts with security forces on Wednesday and Thursday.
Still, Rio tourism authorities expect a safe pre-Lenten festival and record number of tourists. City folklore has it that Rio's residents set aside their conflicts and bandits swap their guns for drums during carnival.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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