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Chaos erupted as 147 murders took place over five grim days during police strike

A single Brazilian state saw 147 murders take place during a gruesome five-day period as part of a wider police strike in February 2020.

The police strike began in the state of Ceará in the northeast of the country on February 19, 2020, with officers demanding a pay rise.

The homicide rate marked a fivefold increase compared to the same five-day period the year before, despite the deployment of more than 2,500 soldiers to patrol the streets.

The violence led to the cancellation of carnival festivities in several cities at what was the height of the summer holiday season.

Justice Minister Sergio Moro said at the time: “There are signs that some violent crimes have been increasing, but it’s not a situation of total disorder in the streets.”

He did concede however that the situation was “relatively difficult” given the partial paralysis of policing in Ceará because of the walkout.

Cops and other civic workers who “provide essential services to society” are banned from going on strike under Brazilian law and a court in Ceará ruled that those defying the ban could face prison.

More than 200 officers were suspended for 120 days as a result of taking part in the picket.

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The situation got so tense that Brazilian Senator Cid Gomes was injured after shots were fired at him during a stand-off with striking cops in the town of Sobral.

The senator was driving a digger towards a fence behind which a group of masked military police officers were protesting when he was hit by two bullets.

Luckily for him the shots were not fatal and he was discharged from the hospital after five days.

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