Brazilian state indicts police officers for refusing to work

AP News
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Posted: Feb 10, 2017 12:35 PM
Brazilian state indicts police officers for refusing to work

SAO PAULO (AP) — The government of Brazil's southeastern state of Espirito Santo has indicted more than 700 military police officers for allegedly refusing to work as part of a pay raise movement that has led to a wave of violence and more than 100 deaths.

Public Safety Director Andre Garcia said Friday that 703 officers have been charged with the "crime of revolt."

Brazil's military police force patrols the nation's cities and its members are barred by law from going on strike.

The killings in the state capital of Vitoria and other cities erupted one week ago as friends and family of the officers blocked their barracks to demand higher pay for the officers.

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.

Similar protests were staged in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, but police authorities said that most of them did not prevent officers from patrolling the city.

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 and Garcia the public safety director told reporters on Friday he expected that number to increase to 3,000.