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Brazilian Governor Wants More Army Troops to Quell Violence

Military police check the broken entrance of a store that was looted in Vitoria, Espirito Santo state, Brazil, Feb 8, 2017.

A Brazilian governor Wednesday said he needs more army troops to help cope with a police crisis that has led to a wave of violence and at least 80 deaths in his southeastern state.

Cesar Colnago, acting governor of the state of Espirito Santo told reporters he would ask the federal government for more troops, saying the 1,000 already sent were not enough to stem the tide of violence.

The killings in the state capital of Vitoria and other cities erupted as friends and family of military police officers blocked their barracks over the weekend to demand higher pay for the officers, preventing patrols from cruising the streets.

Brazil's Military Police force patrols the nation's cities and is barred by law from going on strike.

Andre Garcia, head of Espirito Santo's Public Safety Department, told reporters on Wednesday that the violence has diminished since the arrival of the first troops this week, but that he would still like to see an additional 1,000 troops sent to the state.

The union representing civil police officers has said that 87 people have been murdered since police stopped patrolling the streets Friday night. The state government has not released an official death toll.

At least two buses have been torched over the past five days in Vitoria and several stores have been looted, leading six shopping malls to close their doors.

Buses that had resumed circulating on Tuesday were again off the streets on Wednesday. Schools were shut and medical services at public hospitals were interrupted.