February 11, 2017
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The government of Brazil’s southeastern state of Espirito Santo and military police have reached an agreement to end a strike that had paralyzed several cities and led to an uptick in violence.
The agreement reached late Friday came after a week of strikes led by family members of the officers. Wives and other relatives blocked their barracks to demand higher pay for the officers. The government had indicted more than 700 officers for allegedly refusing to work.
The Espirito Santo government released a letter outlining the agreement, which was published by news portal G1. As part of the agreement, the government would not pursue criminal action against officers who returned to work Saturday.
State authorities did not agree to the demand for pay raises, but said they would analyze the system of promotions. Some family members interviewed by local media said they had not been consulted and did not agree, raising the possibility that some barracks might continue to be blocked on Saturday.
Because of the absence of police patrols, schools have been closed and medical services at public hospitals interrupted. Public transportation has been suspended and some shops have been looted. Espirito Santo neighbors the state of Rio de Janeiro to the north. The strike there inspired a handful of much smaller family protests in Rio on Friday. However, in Rio family members did not block barracks, instead demonstrating peacefully outside them.
In Espirito Santo, the union representing civil police officers said 121 people have been killed since police stopped patrolling the streets. The state government has not released a death toll. Earlier this week, Espirito Santo turned over security duties to the army, which has sent 1,200 troops to help quell the violence.