Today, Brazil’s Federal Police, who are not only involved in anti-crime efforts but who also are responsible for staffing customs for international travelers arriving in Brazil, announced that they are on strike for an “undetermined” period, demanding a salary increase and a restructuring of the profession. They also say the current director of the Federal Police is “not competent to administer” the dispute, and are appealing to oustide forces to adjudicate the matter. Although the Federal Police in Rio de Janeiro did not join their colleagues in the work-stoppage, they have announced that they, too, will consider the Federal Police’s move and decide later this week on what action to take, and seven municipalities in the state of Rio de Janeiro – including Niterói (the neighbor to Rio de Janeiro across Guanabara Bay), Volta Redonda, and Angra dos Reis – will join their colleagues nation-wide.
Of course, this past February, police in Rio de Janeiro went on strike for better pay, and although the strike stopped in time for Carnaval, I commented then that the end of the strike did not mean police that the threat of another strike this year was averted. Now, that strike has happened at the national level among the federal police, something that the police of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia had attempted but had fallen short of back in February. Without an impending event on the level of Carnaval looming, this strike could be more open-ended, and it will be worth watching to see if the movement, which already has greater adhesion than its February counterpart did, will last longer and if the federal government will be willing to work with the Federal Police.