One of the biggest street carnivals in Brazil takes place in Olinda. That’s not news. What is also not new are the problems faced by residents, tourists and workers during the days of revelry. Security and lack of infrastructure are the main points raised by those who visit the city during Carnival.
The party officially starts this Thursday (16), with a special parade of the Midnight Man, the Day Woman and the Afternoon Boy. The traditional slanders leave, at 18:00, from the Palace of the Governors, seat of the City Hall of Olinda, and proceed to the apotheosis in Praça do Carmo, where the Erasto Vasconcelos stage will be set up. According to the City Hall of Olinda, around four million people are expected during the six days.
Read more: Olinda and Recife pay homage to great names of Pernambuco culture at Carnaval 2023
On the Olinda City Hall website, mayor Professor Lupércio (Solidariede), stated that the city is prepared to receive the crowd: “More than four million people will pass through here and everything is within our expectations and with all the organization for an event so grand. We are prepared to have a Carnival that will go down in the history of Brazil”.
A resident of the Historic Site of Olinda for over 40 years, Carlos Marinho shares the reality of those who live there. He is part of a collective of residents of the neighborhood that, during 2022, held some protests denouncing the insecurity suffered by those who live in the region.
“We made a move because of the lack of security we felt at the Historic Site and we still feel it. This is an extremely complex problem and it should get worse now during Carnival”, reinforces the resident.
Read more: Residents of the Historic Site of Olinda suffer from violence and demand action from the public authorities
Carlos observes that the Pernambuco Military Police have even taken action, “but I don’t believe it can contain an avalanche of people like that. I would have to rethink everything here in the neighborhood, the very size of Carnival. I’ve witnessed several drags.”
Last Sunday (12), during the block “Virgens de Bairro Novo”, scenes of violence were recorded by the population. Footage shows men running through the streets after what would have been a fight between groups.
Questioned by the report about the daily cases of lack of security and the performance during the Festa de Momo, the Municipality of Olinda replied that “it maintains a constant dialogue with the security forces, always valuing the well-being of the population. The Municipal Management acts in the exchange of the lighting park of the Historic Site for LED lamps and with fixed blocking points for the exchange of glass containers for plastic, in addition to the educational work in the bars and with the street vendors registered for previews”.
The note also states that “the City Hall asks the Secretariat of Social Defense, a State Government agency responsible for public security, to increase the number of Military Police for the entire festive period.” The request for a response to the Military Police had not been returned until the closing of this article.
This Wednesday (15th), the City Hall also released the special services schemes during Carnival. According to the agency, the city will have a mobile unit parked in Praça Monsenhor Fabrício, in front of the City Hall, with camera monitoring and interaction with the Municipal Guard on foot.
There will also be a Lost and Found Collection Point and referral to the headquarters of the Citizen Security Secretariat (SSC), where they will be cataloged and inserted in a link on the Olinda Carnival 2023 website, hosted on the Olinda City Hall website.
According to the management, the Municipal Civil Guard will act in an integrated manner with the Military Police and other municipal and state management bodies, with a view to increasing everyone’s safety.
During the more than 40 years living in Olinda, Carlos Marinho has already experienced a lot and makes some remarks. “First of all, the Historic Site of Olinda suffers from a serious problem which is overcrowding during this period. In addition, there is social apartheid. The owners of the houses have their sidewalks exploited, people go up, they come from everywhere and this makes the environment toxic and contestable”, he discusses.
He does not believe that the region has the capacity to receive the expected four million people. “In Olinda there is no water, there is no hydrometer, there is no escape route, absolutely nothing has been thought of in this regard. Without enough public toilets, in the end, people will urinate and defecate in the HS, aggravating this dispute between resident, invader, tourist, etc. It’s a complex subject,” he reflects.
According to the city hall, 155 chemical toilets are installed in 14 different points: Next to the Post Office; Fortim do Queijo; Porto Seguro Street; Carmo Square; Ribeira (in the alley opposite the market); Largo do Amparo (next to the Church of Amparo); Alto da Sé (on the way up the slope); 10 November (descension of the town hall); Laura Nigro Square; Rua Pedro Monteiro; João Alfredo Platter; Rua 13 de Maio; Avenida Liberdade (mansion next to Focca) and Municipal Library.
In view of all that has been exposed, Carlos is not at home during Carnival. “I close my house, put up fences and go inland. It is difficult for you to live in the Historic Site during these days of Carnival and even from September onwards, when previews begin with loud sounds, insecurity, rush, drags, small and medium thefts, all of this is very complicated”, he laments.
During the preview of the Clube Carnavalesco Elefante de Olinda, which took place on Saturday (04), state deputy Rosa Amorim (PT) and a friend were hit by an electrical discharge, possibly coming from a light pole, which threw them both to the ground. It was raining when the group arrived at Carmo, when the women suffered the shock.
After the incident, the congresswoman alerted people through social networks and filed a request for an inspection with the city of Olinda and Neoenergia. Neoenergia stated that it was a pole under the responsibility of the city hall, that the poles under its responsibility were inspected and did not show current leakage.
The forecast of rain for the days of revelry was one of the concerns of the deputy. In response to our report, the Municipality of Olinda reported that “the area scored was inspected and nothing was found. Tourists can relax playing in Olinda on rainy days”.
Source: BdF Pernambuco
Editing: Vanessa Gonzaga
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