Carnival dancers in Rio de Janeiro dazzled as they danced through streets, baring flesh and dripping in gold as the most raucous festival on earth entered its fourth day.
This year women’s groups have been using carnival to push back against sexual harassment.
Several block parties have feminist themes, many women are wearing temporary tattoos and stickers with messages like ‘No means no’ and authorities have launched campaigns to encourage women to report harassment to police.
But that’s not to say that revellers’ famously skimpy wear has got any more conservative.
Feather headdresses and sparkly G-strings were seen in abundance and bare skin gleamed under streetlight.
Carnival dancers in Rio de Janeiro dazzled yesterday, baring flesh in front of thousands on the 700 metre-long Sambódromo
The Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school stunned the amassed crowd as its members danced in front a pair of giant breasts
Thousands watched on as dancers from 13 schools in the city put on a spectacular display in Rio’s Sambódromo on Monday night
Feather headdresses and sparkly G-strings were seen in abundance and bare skin gleamed under streetlight
This year’s celebrations featured strong feminist themes, with authorities using the increased public awareness that comes with carnival to launch schemes encouraging women to report harassment to police
The festival, whose roots lie in a tradition of carnal indulgence before the austere Roman Catholic season of Lent, officially ends on Wednesday
Over six million people, including 1.5 million visitors, are expected to take to the streets of Rio for the annual celebrations
Rio have beefed up its police force to around 17,000 for the bacchanalia after the federal government denied a request for troops to help enforce security
That’s not to say, however, that the raucous scenes of the streets had become more conservative. Dancers, like this one from the Uniao da Ilha Samba school, performed in their usual outrageous outfits
One dance from the Uniao da Ilha samba school, pictured, paraded dressed in an extremely revealing, blue stone studded costume
A blast of colour: The Salgueiro samba school parades through the Sambódromo on the second night of parades, and the fourth day of the festival
While political themes may have come to the forefront this year, Samba troop’s maintained their reputation for skimpy, clinging outfits
Each school gets about an hour to parade with some 3,000 dancers, singers and drummers dressed in over-the-top costumes. Last year, the contest ended in a draw between the Mocidade and Portela schools. The new champion will be announced on Wednesday
Rio’s Sambódromo came alive to the sound of pounding samba music as revellers pulled on weird and wonderful costumes
Behind the dancers came the drummers, armed with small, hand held instruments played with batons
News site G1 posted a photo gallery highlighting female celebrities covering their nipples with just stickers or barely-there adhesives.
Some groups took a decidedly political slant, taking aim at politicians both old and new.
Last year’s champions, Portela, portrayed the story of Jews who fled persecution in Europe for Brazil, only to then face discrimination from Portuguese colonists.
Samba troop Beija-Flor de Nilopolis was expected to have a drag queen as its headliner.
Brazilian singer, songwriter, and drag queen Pabllo Vittar’s song Todo Dia has alone attracted 216 million viewers.
Vittar is a sensation in the Brazilian pop scene, and carnival has long been a place to celebrate sexuality and diversity.
But Brazil also has some of Latin America’s highest rates of violence against gay and transgender people, and Beija-Flor was tackling intolerance against the LGBT community and others.
‘It will be a parade that highlights such an important theme because we see a lot of scenes of homophobia and transphobia in the streets,’ Vittar told Epoca magazine in a recent interview. ‘It’s very important to address this theme at carnival so we can disseminate this message [of tolerance] every day.’
The gay rights organization Gay Group of Bahia hosted its annual LGBT Costume Contest in Salvador, including performances that highlighted Brazil’s high rates of violence against women and gay and transgender people.
‘All these schools are amazing,’ said Celso Pinheiro, an accountant watching on. ‘They are different, just like there are so many different carnival celebrations.’
The origins of samba schools are linked to the history of carnival in Rio itself, as well as the creation of the modern samba
The first parades were more exclusive events for white revellers, rather than the more diverse crowd today
Dance of a dove: Attendees wore incredible feather headdresses and brightly coloured outfits as they took part in the glittering display
Dancers ignored the sweltering heat as they danced and twirled through the Sambódromo to the delight of watching crowds
Green was the colour of choice for these revellers who danced down the Sambódromo holding what appeared to be fake bamboo plants
Revellers from Beija-Flor samba school perform during the second night of the carnival parade
Costumes at the carnival can be incredible expensive. Festival attendees are expected to spend $1.1billion in the city before Wednesday
In recent days, a three-year-old girl was killed in an attempted robbery and a thirteen-year-old boy died after being caught in crossfire between police and traffickers as he made his way home after a soccer game
But, despite a backdrop of violence, carnival is a celebration of unity and care-free revelry
Carnival is famous for its colour and vast size, but this year it took on a more political element
Can you hear me? A dancer dressed in a radiant purple headdress stops to turn towards the crowd
Brazil is also battling a spike in yellow fever, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical regions, with 98 deaths and 353 cases now confirmed since July 2017
The outbreak of the disease, which is still a major killer in Africa but had been largely brought under control in the Americas, has hit the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais hardest
Dressed in crisp white, these dancers made their way down the Sambódromo in front of adoring crowds
In the northeastern city of Olinda, revelers paraded with giant blow-up dolls that depicted political figures like U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as well as celebrities from around the globe, including Michael Jackson, the Beatles and Brazilian sports and pop stars.
At carnival, everything is fair game, and many Brazilians have seized the moment to criticize their leaders at a time of intense dissatisfaction with the political class and angst over continuing fallout from a severe recession.
On Sunday, a float in Rio’s samba parade featured a plastic bottom with Mayor Marcelo Crivella’s name on it.
At parties across the country, revelers have denounced President Michel Temer, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and other politicians caught up in a sprawling corruption probe.
In Rio, the celebrations come during a time of unease, as the city that hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics is experiencing a surge in violence.
Authorities promised 17,000 security officers would patrol every day during carnival celebrations, but Brazilian media reported several muggings over the weekend in the upscale neighborhoods of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon that are popular with tourists.
A dancer from the Salgueiro samba school performs during the after-dark celebrations, wearing just nipple coverings and an ornate headdress
Dancers wearing almost nothing strutted their stuff on top of moving floats in front of cheering, gyrating crowds
Despite sweltering conditions, dancers pulled on body-covering fancy dress outfits to perform in front of 72,000 spectators
Footage posted by G1 showed groups of young men chasing their victims and even beating them, sometimes in front of crowds of people.
Military police spokesman Ivan Blaz said security would be further beefed up in those beachside neighborhoods Monday night, but he also appeared to play down the violence in an interview with Brazilian TV, contending that revelers were not following basic security advice that is applicable in any city in the world. He said, for instance, that people shouldn’t wear jewelry or take selfies with their cellphones while in a crowd, saying that phone robberies are also a problem at the Eiffel Tower.
Despite the problems, most revelers were enjoying the party, which officially goes through Tuesday but for many stretches deeper into the week.
‘Carnival is my release,’ said Rian Rodrigues. ‘I only sleep a few hours. I party all day, come to the Sambódromo at night and then keep partying.’
Carnival is the grandest holiday in Brazil, annually drawing millions in raucous celebrations culminating on Fat Tuesday before the start of the Catholic season of Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday
Dancers in home-made gear crafted from old newspapers struck a decidedly political slant as they marched through the streets