SAO PAULO - Police in Brazil's Bahia state voted on Saturday to end a strike that unleashed a crime wave claiming more than 150 lives, raising hopes for peaceful carnival celebrations but leaving concerns about security ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
The last holdouts among Bahia's military police agreed to give up their walkout, state spokesman Robinson Almeida told Reuters, after 11 days of looting, assaults and vandalism in Brazil's third-largest city.Fears of the violence spreading also eased in Rio de Janeiro after a police strike there showed signs of flagging in its second day. Rio's civil police, one branch of striking security forces, agreed on Saturday to suspend their walkout, according to state news service Agencia Brasil.
The news brought relief just one week before Rio's famous carnival celebrations and allowed for a peaceful start to hundreds of the city's informal street parades, known as blocos
. As many as 850,000 tourists are expected to hit the beaches and palm-tree lined promenades of Brazil's second-biggest city for the festivities, which officially run from Feb. 17 to Feb. 22.