The violent treatment and incarceration of the firefighters in Rio de Janeiro is a national disgrace. The “Corpo de Bombeiros” is the one branch of the military in Brazil that deserves the utmost respect from both the government and the Brazilian people in general. Military or not, they put their lives on the line on a daily basis, much more so than the police.
The State of Rio de Janeiro is the second largest economy in the country according to its GDP and third largest in terms of GDP per capita. Yet, the state’s firefighters earn less than half the salary of their counterparts in Sergipe; Brazil’s smallest state and twenty-first in terms of GDP. Their salaries are a mere quarter of those for firefighters in Brasilia, DF. There is absolutely no way that Brazil’s second wealthiest state can justify meager salaries, let alone the unconscionable and violent treatment that these unsung heroes received at the hands of BOPE who were nothing more than “the brown shirted storm- troopers” ordered in by the leaders of the state. Being arrested like common criminals only added insult to injury. It is disgraceful that the politicians who sit on their duffs doing hardly anything have within their power to vote themselves hefty increases whenever the whim strikes them, yet couldn’t care less about the salary of those who really do the work that keeps this country together. Shame on you, Sérigo Cabral Filho!
Ironically, if you look at the state flag you will find that it bears the motto – RECTI REMPUBLICAM GEREREM “Carry on the affairs of the public with righteousness”. It’s high time that those governing the state took that message to heart. They are a far cry from being righteous; BUT… OH HOW THEY CARRY ON.