02222017Headline:

Police in southeast Brazil refuse to end strike as death toll hits 137

Police in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo remained on strike on Saturday as military reinforcements arrived in an effort to end a week-long state of anarchy during which more than 130 people have been killed.

State government officials announced on Friday evening that they had reached a deal with police associations to end the strike, but relatives of the officers later rejected those claims, saying that the organizations do not represent them.

In Brazil, it is against the law for police officers to go on strike, which is why relatives of the officers have gathered outside police stations to physically prevent the officers from doing their work. Nonetheless, state officials have threatened to charge hundreds of police officers unless they return to work.

With the strike continuing, more than 4,000 soldiers and elite federal police officers are expected to arrive in Espirito Santo on Saturday to bolster the initial deployment of 1,200 soldiers, according to the Reuters news agency. Streets in Vitoria, the state capital, were described as calm on Saturday.

The strike began over demands for better compensation and improved working conditions. Police in Espirito Santo receive a base pay of about 2,646 Brazilian Real ($849) a month, which is the lowest police salary in the country.

At least 137 people are known to have been killed during the week-long police strike, though it is unclear whether the death toll includes areas outside Vitoria. The state of anarchy has forced the closure of schools, clinics, businesses, and public transportation. Residents have been urged to stay indoors.

Some relatives of police officers in Rio de Janeiro also blocked police stations on Friday and Saturday, but only a small number of areas have been affected so far.

(Copyright 2015 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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