To mark the epic occasion we've taken a look back at some of the raucous behaviour from last year's celebrations. Rio de Janeiro's most famous street party opens today and a sea of Brazilian babes adorned with sequins, feathers and glitter, are set to samba down the streets of the famous city. The vibrant event draws crowds from around the world and is a huge bucket-list must-do for travel enthusiasts. But what really goes on inside the week-long party? We take a look back at 's celebrations to give you an idea of what to expect. Last year's party was alive with colour and funky samba beats as the carnival got underway at the Sambadrome. And although the skies opened just as the all-night extravaganza started, it didn't put a dampener on the thrilling performance.
View the stunning highlights from this years' Rio Carnival.
The two-night extravaganza began in the Sambodromo, where 72, spectators sat in sweltering heat, with many thousands more milling around outside selling drinks, putting on costumes or simply soaking up the atmosphere. Three of the samba schools taking openly critical stands against the political and corruption crisis that has engulfed Latin America's biggest country over the last four years. Even by Brazil's deteriorating standards, Rio de Janeiro is in particularly deep financial trouble, while crime in many areas is out of control. Two children were among the dead in shootings last week and a policeman was reported Sunday to have been shot dead in a suburb - the 16th officer killed already this year. So although 17, police have been deployed for the carnival, large parts of Rio, like Rocinha or City of God, are virtual no-go zones for both police and tourists. Locals in those areas, dubbed favelas, have to survive in the crossfire of drug gangs and the security forces. To make matters worse for the passionate carnival-going public, Mayor Marcelo Crivella - a bishop in the evangelical mega church founded by his billionaire uncle - has cut subsidies to the annual bash in half. George Damiao, 38, who was taking part in the Imperio Serrano school's parade, said: "The schools had to use every trick to find sponsors at the last minute and make miracles for the parade to happen.
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