Mexico City (CNN)More than one hundred people have been killed and several more injured in the Brazilian city of Vitoria this week, after military police officers staged a walkout to demand better salaries and benefits.
Officers haven’t reported for work since Saturday, while their family members have been protesting in front of police stations and blocking police cars, preventing them from circulating.
Military police are responsible for much of the day to day policing in the city. Due to their military status, military police officers are not authorized to officially strike in Brazil.
If caught, they could be discharged and face up to two years in prison. The civil police force in the city is not on strike, though they have expressed support for the walkout.
During a recent press conference, Espirito Santo governor Paulo Hartung accused the group of “open blackmail.”
“This movement is illegal and unconstitutional,” Hartung said Wednesday. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
Since the walkout began, at least 1,200 members of the Brazilian Armed Forces have been patrolling several cities throughout the state, after the governor’s office requested back up from the Ministry of Defense.
These latest incidents come after a violent start to the year in Brazil. At least 130 inmates were killed after several prison riots erupted in the north and northeast of the country. In some cities, like Natal and Manaus, the violence spread beyond the prison gates forcing the federal government to deploy hundreds of military troops.