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Brazilian president horrified at volient police strike

02-10-2012 10:19 BJT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Thursday that she was horrified at the violent police strike in the northeastern Bahia state.

Rousseff said the policemen's demands for better pay and work conditions must be respected, but she disapproved of the ways in which they were try to achieve their goals.

In a recorded phone conversation, the striking police leader, who has been arrested, talked about plans to set fire to vehicles and block highways, as well as to extend the strike to other states.

"We do not consider it right to provoke panic," Rousseff said.

The president said striking policemen could be pardoned, but only if they did not commit crimes.

"People should not be jailed for making these (work-related) demands. But for illicit acts, (and) for crimes against people, property and public order, they should not be pardoned," she said.

The police strike in Bahia state started on Jan. 31, leading to an unprecedented crime wave in the state's capital city of Salvador.

Since the beginning of the strike, there have been over 130 murders, despite the presence of military forces, which were called to reinforce security. The number of robbery and car thefts have also spiked.

The policemen on strike occupied the state legislature and camped there for several days. They peacefully left the building Thursday, ending a nine-day standoff after the arrest of their leader.

The policemen, who have rejected the Bahia government's proposal of a 6.5 percent raise of their salaries, could extend the strike further.

In order to prevent a full blown strike in Rio during the Carnival holiday, when the city gets packed with tourists, authorities decided to give two pay raises to the policemen, firefighters and wardens, respectively in April 2012 and in October 2013.

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: Xinhua

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