SAO PAULO – Police officers in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte ended a strike Tuesday that kept them off the job for 20 days, forcing officials to deploy army troops in the region following a spike in violent crime.
The officers agreed to return to duty after state officials promised to pay some of the salary arrears this week, union leaders said.
The civil police went on strike on Dec. 20, a day after military police officers walked off the job.
On Jan. 2, the military police decided on a gradual return to work once the strike was ruled illegal, while the civil force resolved to continue the stoppage.
Each of Brazil’s 26 states has two police agencies, one military and one civil. While military police are responsible for maintaining public order, the civil force investigates crimes.
Officers went on strike to demand payment of salary arrears and better working conditions.
The strike prompted state officials to request the deployment of the army to maintain order, and some 2,800 soldiers have been on patrol in the principal cities of Rio Grande do Norte since last week.
The army plans to continue patrolling cities in Rio Grande do Norte until Jan. 12, but Gov. Robinson Faria said Monday evening that he hoped the soldiers would remain longer.