Brazil Samba Carnival: Rio kicks off parade with anti-establishment tone

Published: 12th February 2018 02:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2018 02:35 PM  

Amid a lacklustre economy, a massive corruption investigation and increasing political polarisation, Brazilians let off steam Saturday during the first full day of Carnival, a holiday long considered a safety valve for social and political tensions. (Photo | AP)
An anti-establishment tone is echoing through this year's celebrations in Brazil. And Sunday night's parade at Rio's Sambadrome featured entries that blasted the country's political leadership at a moment of economic slump and political scandal. (Photo | AP)
In the Sambadrome or at street parties, Carnival revelers usually take the five-day extravaganza to forget everyday problems, and most of them will do just that. But the political message is clearly more present this time than in recent years. (Photo | AP)
'This has been the most political bash since the middle of the '80s when Brazil's military dictatorship was about to end,' Carnival historian Luiz Antonio Simas said. 'Brazil has been mired in political chaos and corruption scandals and people want to vent their frustrations at the same time they want to be in the party. That is a great mix for Carnival.' (Photo | AP)
Mangueira, one of Rio's most popular samba schools, prepared a float featuring a plastic butt with Crivella's name on it. Since taking office last year, the evangelical bishop-turned-politician has cut city funding for samba schools and avoided the bash. (Photo | AP)
Known for elaborate - or skimpy - costumes and intense samba competitions, Carnival celebrations also frequently take on serious subjects. This year, for instance, women's groups are highlighting the sexual harassment and unwelcome touching that many face during the celebrations and throughout the year on Brazil's streets. (Photo | AP)
Others have called attention to housing shortages or are criticizing politicians who have been accused of corruption. (Photo | AP)
'Carnival transcends politics — it's (a celebration) of the Brazilian people,' said Hector Batelli, a 30-year-old lawyer, who on Saturday was enjoying a Sao Paulo Carnival street party, known as a bloco. 'So we put aside politics to have a party, to celebrate.' (Photo | AP)
Luciana De Paula, who was singing with her cousins on her way to a bloco, said Brazil may go through the bad and the good, but Carnival is always the same: an incredibly happy time. (Photo | AP)
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