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From the organisers of
 

Brazilian stone show cancelled by police strike

11 February 2017
Fair cancelled

The Vitoria Stone Fair in Brazil has beeen cancelled.

The Brazillian stone fair, which should have opened in Vitoria, in the state of Espirito Santo, on 14 February, has been cancelled as the result of a police strike.

An announcement appeared on the exhibition's website on 10 February. It says "...due to the strike of the Military Police, as widely shown by the media and leading the Federal Government to institute the use of Armed Forces in the state, according DSN 14.440, from February 06 of 2017, Milanez & Milaneze S/A with the knowing of entities of the ornamental stone sector SINDIROCHAS, CETEMAG and CENTROROCHAS, announce the cancellation of the annual edition of the International Marble and Granite Fair - VITORIA STONE FAIR | MARMOMAC LATIN AMERICA, to be held from February 14 to 17, 2017, at the Carapina Events Center, Espírito Santo.

"This decision was made considering the multiple requests sent by the exhibitors and visitors of VITORIA STONE FAIR to the organizers of the event with the purpose of preserving the safety and integrity of our customers, exhibitors and visitors, and of all service providers committed to the event.

"We reaffirm the importance of this international event for the ornamental stone sector, and we reiterate our position of preserve the safety of those involved and hope to have everyone's understanding."

The American stone sector news bulletin, Stone Update, reports:

The move came after a week long work stoppage of police patrols in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo, which includes Vitória, led to street clashes and reportedly more than 130 deaths. Following a request by the state, Brazil's federal government sent more than 3,000 troops to restore order.

During the week, Vitoria's schools, clinics and public transport shut down, along with many businesses.

The annual expo will not be rescheduled in 2017.

"This year's edition is canceled, it does not have the slightest condition that it will be held on another date," said Cecília Milanez Milaneze, company CEO, on the Folha Vitória website.

"We are thinking, first of all, of the safety of people," he added. "We are having a lot of losses because of this situation and we can not let them increase any further.

"The event is almost ready, the stands are already set up, the participants are already in town. But they themselves asked for the fair to be canceled."

A few hours after the announcement, Espírito Santo officials announced a settlement, with police scheduled to go back to work at 7am local time on Saturday (11 February). However, both the Associated Press and Reuters reported that the strike continued through Saturday.

The branch of law enforcement in question is the state's Military Police, which, despite the name, is not part of Brazil's armed forces and maintains public order. After a long-standing dispute with the Espírito Santo government over pay issues, family members of the police surrounded the force's barracks (headquarters) and stopped patrol cars from departing.

The stoppage-by-surrounding is a tactic to circumvent Brazilian law that prohibits police from going on strike. Espírito Santo officials responded by threatening charges of insurrection against 703 police officers.

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