IN PICS: Rio Carnival: feast your eyes on 'the world's greatest show'

A reveller from the Mocidade Alegre Samba School takes part in Carnival at Anhembi Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil February 11, 2018. Photo: REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

RIO DE JANEIRO - Carnival festivities took over Rio de Janeiro took place over the weekend as revellers danced and drank at block parties with names like "fire in the underpants," despite an extended crime wave in the city and a spike in yellow fever cases throughout Brazil.

Over six million people, including 1.5 million visitors, are expected to take to the streets of Rio for the annual celebrations, which pit the city's 13 best samba schools against one another in ornate parades that can cost over $2-million (R23-million) apiece.

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To launch the "world's biggest party" on Friday, officials handed a glittering key to the city to King Momo, a figurehead who presides over the partying and who, according to legend, was expelled from Mount Olympus before moving to Rio, the so-called "wonderful city."

But the celebrations this year come amid escalating violence.

Gains made after police began a 'pacification' programme in 2008, pushing drug gangs out of favelas, have been unravelling. An economic crisis dried up funding, and critics say the government did not make good on promised social advances for the slums.

CREDIT: REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

CREDIT: REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

CREDIT: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

CREDIT: Mauro PIMENTEL / AFP

CREDIT: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

CREDIT: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

CREDIT: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

CREDIT: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

CREDIT: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

CREDIT: REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Reuters

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