Police went on strike in a Brazilian state. The result was near-anarchy.

From the Washington PostBRASILIA — The boardwalk along the beach in Vila Velha, a coastal town in northeastern Brazil, is normally swarming with tourists. But in early February it was deserted save for a few soldiers who marched down the road, guns held ready.

Shots punctured the eerie silence as thieves held up pedestrians for their cars and purses, local media reported. In commercial centers throughout the area, packs of looters drove trucks into shop windows and carried whole racks of clothes and appliances on their backs.

This wave of near-anarchy has engulfed the state of Espirito Santo, a picturesque region along Brazil’s northeastern coast, since Feb. 4. That’s when the state police announced a general strike, leaving the streets open to gangs and petty criminals alike. The state government said that 143 people were slain in Espirito Santo between Feb. 4 and Feb. 13, compared to just four people in all of January. …



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