The authorities in Brazil said the first five days of a military police strike has seen at least 147 people murdered in the north-eastern state of Ceará.
The Brazil Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva and Justice Minister Sergio Moro arrived in Ceará’s capital Fortaleza to oversee the army’s response to the policing crisis.
The police began their strike on 19 February, demanding a pay rise.
Police officers are banned from going on strike under Brazilian law, and last week a court in Ceará ruled that those defying the ban could face prison with More than 200 striking police officers been suspended in recent days.
Reports says the homicide rate is five times higher than usual, despite the deployment of the army to patrol the streets.
The violence has led to the cancellation of carnival festivities in several cities at what is the height of the summer holiday season.
Last week, Brazilian Senator Cid Gomes was injured after shots were fired at him during a stand-off with striking police in Ceará’s town of Sobral.
The 56-year-old senator in hospital in a stable condition was driving a digger towards a fence behind which a group of masked military police officers were protesting when he was hit by two bullets.