9,000 soldiers in Rio ahead of potential police strike

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 15: Around 9,000 soldiers from the Brazilian Army were deployed here ahead of a potential police strike, the Ministry of Defence announced, a media report said on Wednesday.

Minister of Defence Raul Jungmann told a press conference on Tuesday that the soldiers would patrol here and the nearby cities of Niteroi and Sao Goncalo until February 22, although their deployment could be extended until after Carnival.

On Tuesday afternoon, the army presence was seen in the tour areas of Copacabana and Ipanema, as well as along the main highways here in the second-largest Brazilian city.

The army deployment came after Rio Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao appealed to President Michel Temer to reinforce security, as military police battalions stayed in barracks in protest against the freezing of their salaries and labour conditions.

In a statement, Temer said the armed forces were "ready to re-establish public order" in case of more strikes and described the situation in Espirito Santo as an "insurgency" by military police.