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Nude Celebrants On TV; Gov’t Asks Broadcasters To Be More Discreet

February 27, 1990

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Parade floats and scantily clad samba dancers revved up the city’s marathon carnival, while the government urged TV stations to be a bit more discreet about broadcasting nude revelers.

Justice Minister Saulo Ramos asked TV executives Monday not to broadcast flagrant examples of nudity, but the more prevailing attitude was expressed by Roberto Costa, an advertising agency employee in Belo Horizonte.

″This helps us forget inflation, the foreign debt and all of Brazil’s problems,″ said Costa, who wore a glistening purple wig and was dancing in the four-day pre-Lent festivities.

In Rio, unofficial capital of carnival, 16 samba ″schools″ - neighborhood groups from poor, predominantly black districts - take part in the marathon two-night parade that ends today, the last day of carnival.

The schools, each with as many as 5,000 costumed members and up to 20 floats, sing and dance to a bone-shaking beat in the ″sambadrome,″ a parade ground surrounded by a 75,000-seat grandstand that covers six city blocks in downtown Rio.

Dancers clad in rhinestone bikinis shimmy and gyrate to the pulsing beat. Two television networks carry the parade live, focusing on nudity and rolling pelvises.

In Brasilia, Justice Minister Ramos noted that the 1988 constitution abolished censorship but asked broadcasters to use self-restraint.

″Censorship has ended and we don’t have a law that punishes abuses,″ he said. ″We appeal to the conscience of the networks to respect the ethical values of the Brazilian family.″

Revelers with money packed the popular private-club balls, where clothing and inhibitions are shed as the night goes on. The steamy scenes are too much even for the television networks, which stop live coverage in the wee hours.

Rich and poor packed the sambadrome side-by-side Monay, singing along as each group passed. When the popular Portela school went by at 7 a.m., thousands of spectators climbed down from the grandstands and joined the procession.

The only somber note came when a float struck a high-voltage wire outside the parade ground and a man was killed.

Each school writes its own samba for the parade and is awarded points for lyrics, costumes, dancing and music. The themes this year ranged from the discovery of Brazil to last December’s election, the first free, popular election of a president in 29 years.

This year also brought a revival of street carnival in Rio, with pickup samba bands and improvised costumes. In the downtown financial district, a ″beermobile″ passed out free suds.

Police reported 33 killings Saturday and Sunday in greater Rio, fewer than the 57 of the previous weekend.

Banks, stores and government offices are closed until Wednesday, when Brazilians will begin straggling back to work.

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