VITORIA: More than 100 people have been reported killed during a six-day strike by police in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo, as hundreds of troops patrolled streets attempting to keep order with schools and businesses closed and public transport frozen.
The Army mobilized airborne troops and armored vehicles on Thursday to reinforce roughly 1,200 soldiers and federal police trying to contain the chaos in Espirito Santo, a coastal state north of Rio de Janeiro.
Most of the violence was centered in Vitoria, the state capital and a wealthy port city ringed by golden beaches and filled with mining and petroleum companies.
"We cannot establish definite motives for these killings at this time as the crisis is still ongoing," said Gustavo Tenorio, a spokesman for the police union. "But an initial evaluation by the homicide division seems to indicate that a majority of those who have died were tied to drug trafficking or some other type of crime."
Police in Espirito Santo are demanding a pay rise amid an economic downturn that has hammered public finances in Brazil, with many states struggling to ensure even basic health, education and security services.