Brazil

Oldest Rio party kicks off as Carnival in Brazil hits full stride

A reveller parades for the Aguia de Ouro samba school during the carnival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 25, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Rio de Janeiro’s famed Carnival bacchanalia hit full stride on Saturday, as hundreds of thousands roared into the streets for one of the city’s oldest and by far its biggest “bloco” street party, the Bola Preta.

The Bola Preta, or “Black Ball,” gathering routinely draws upward of 1 million people to Rio’s historic center, where revelers dressed in black and white lustily sing traditional Carnival anthems, including the occasional breaking out into Rio’s theme, “Cidade Maravilhosa,” or the Marvelous City.

Things are not feeling so fabulous around Rio of late: crime is sharply up since the city hosted the Olympics last August and the state is suffering an intense fiscal crisis, remains deeply indebted and can barely maintain basic services like police, hospitals…

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