World

Brazil troops patrol restive city as crime wave death toll hits 70 amid military police strike

AP

More than 1,000 army troops Tuesday patrolled the streets of the southeastern Brazilian city of Vitoria amid a crime wave that left at least 70 people dead over two days, authorities said.

The killings in the city in Espirito Santo state about 460 miles (740 km) northeast of Sao Paulo came as patrol cars stopped cruising the streets while the friends and family of military police officers blocked their barracks to demand higher pay for their uniformed loved ones.

On Monday, store windows, doors were shattered as looters took advantage of the situation. Civil police used force to stop some thieves, shooting at least one man in the leg.

The troops were deployed to help halt the growing crime.

Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said Monday that the federal troops will remain until the situation is normalized.

“Our commitment is to restore normalcy, order, peace and tranquility in Vitoria and where else necessary,” he said.

Schools, banks and public health centers remained closed Tuesday.

The closure of health services meant there could be no vaccinations for yellow fever in the city, even as Brazil experiences its worst outbreak of the disease since 2000. Espirito Santo has seen 14 confirmed cases in the current outbreak, and dozens more are under investigation.

Public buses resumed circulating Tuesday morning. But the president of the local bus transportation workers union, Edson Bastos, said the vehicles would stop service for the day at 7 p.m.

Images aired by the Globo television network showed nearly empty streets and only a few stores opened.

A court ordered the protesters to end their blockade, but the demonstrations outside barracks continued on Tuesday.

Brazil’s Military Police, which patrols the cities in Latin America’s biggest country, is barred by law from going on strike.