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Samba Parade Highlights Rio Carnival; Some Violent Incidents

February 16, 1988

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ A glittering samba parade Tuesday highlighted Rio’s famous Carnival, while in country towns, ordinary Brazilians donned humble costumes and danced in the streets.

Police used clubs and tear gas to break up a rock fight among spectators leaving the ″samba school″ parade. Three people were arrested and two hospitalized with injuries, a police spokesman said.

A celebrant who may have been offended by the sexual tone of a television network’s coverage of gala balls punched an anchorman during a live broadcast. Among others, the network had shown a woman, from the waist up, who wore only a silver tiara and said she was dressed as the Statue of Liberty.

The last of Rio’s top 16 ″samba schools″ paraded through the 80,000-seat, open-air ″sambadrome″ at 9 a.m., ending a two-day spectacular featuring 75,000 brilliantly costumed participants who sang, danced and pulled elaborate floats.

In the towns and villages, the dances were much less elaborate, but in many places local governments provided free street bands.

Carnival began Saturday and, at noon Wednesday, this nation of 141 million people will begin the slow process of reopening businesses, newspapers, banks and government offices.

Daytime temperatures of more than 90 degrees aided the festive atmosphere. Some costumed revelers ran short of energy and could be seen stretched out asleep on beaches, sidewalks and parked cars.

Samba schools are neighborhood clubs, most in the poor hillside slums, that compete each year for a coveted local prize by composing sambas based on historical and folk themes. Each school puts 4,000-5,000 people in the parade, who relate the chosen theme through lyrics, dances, costumes and allegorical floats.

Many of the raucous club balls, which attract tens of thousands of people, were held Tuesday.

At the Scala nightclub, a man punched Nei Costa of TV Bandeirantes, a commercial network that was broadcasting three of the parties simultaneously.

Costa cried: ″I’ve been attacked 3/8 I can’t understand it 3/8″ and private security guards hustled the assailant off. His name and complaint were not revealed.

Bandeirantes cut back and forth to reporters assigned to all three clubs, providing closeups of bare and nearly bare breasts, gyrating pelvises other scenes appropriate to leering commentary.

The ″Statue of Liberty″ appeared in the Bandeirantes broadcast from the Kittens Ball at the Monte Libano Club.

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