Carnaval is on. And Brazil will be Carnaval country till Wednesday noon at least. Millions of Brazilians have taken to the streets and clubs of large and small towns all the across the country to celebrate Brazil’s most popular party, Carnaval.
The main celebrations happen in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and São Paulo. Recife opened the big Carnaval with 1.6 million people on the streets taking part of the popular Galo da Madrugada (Dawn Rooster), which made the Guinness Book of records.
The three potential candidates to the presidency in the October 3 election went to the capital of Pernambuco to watch Galo da Madrugada and to be seen: Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s handpicked choice to succeed him, governor of São Paulo, José Serra and representative Ciro Gomes, all were there.
Friday night, percussionist Naná Vasconcellos and popular samba composer and singer Zeca Pagodinho had already started the party with a big show in Recife.
In Salvador, Bahia’s state capital, the Trio Elétricos (mobiles stages that are followed on foot by the revelers) started the animation on Thursday. Among the big names singing on top of the big trucks were Ivete Sangalo.
More than half a million people went to the streets in downtown Rio this Saturday to watch and take part in the Bola Preta cordão (musical troupe) parade, the most traditional of these Carioca Carnaval groups.
To commemorate the fact that Brazil was chosen to host the 2014 World Cup, Bola Preta use samba and soccer as their theme. The party started at the sound of Rio’s anthem “Cidade Maravilhosa” and went on to Avenida Rio Branco, the main thoroughfare in downtown Rio. An import from Bahia, the Gladiador (Gladiator) trio elétrico rocked the crowd.
To ensure order, the Municipal Guard, had 20 of its agents armed with taser following the parade. Seventeen people had already been arrested by the Special Secretariat of Public Order (Seop) by early afternoon, among them a woman. They were all taken to the 5th Police Precinct (Central), where it was made a report of their misbehavior.
The Police also arrested three men who were charging 0.50 cents and 1 real to allow people to use the city’s chemical toilets, which were supposed to be free.