Watch: Carnaval’s Street Vendors Face Violence from the Police

Emmy-nominated labor reporter traveled to Rio de Janeiro to investigate police violence against street vendors.

This week, Carnaval begins in Rio de Janeiro. It’s a five-day celebration of the end of summer in Brazil and the beginning of Lent.

While you may see images on TV of extravagant floats going down the Sambadromo, the people who make Carnaval happen are the workers selling drinks in the street, selling food, and cleaning up after parties.

Street vendors complain, though, that they are often robbed by Rio de Janeiro’s police, often at the request of local bar owners, who claim that the street vendors eat into their profits.

Now, workers are organizing and demanding that Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes stop the violence. 

Emmy-nominated labor reporter Mike Elk visited Rio de Janeiro from Pittsburgh to investigate. Watch our 5-minute segment with subtitles and share it with your friends.

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]