Blimp to spy on Rio carnival
Rio de Janeiro - A small remote-controlled blimp fitted with a camera will keep watch over street parties in the lead-up to the Carnival parades at Rio's famed Sambadrome late this month, a city official said.
Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello, Rio's tourism secretary, told reporters that the blimp, 10m long and 2.6m wide, would from Thursday take high-resolution pictures that will help police deal with any street disturbances.
Hundreds of thousands of revellers traditionally join the "blocos", the free neighbourhood parties where they dance the samba and slurp down beer in the lead-up to the procession of sumptuous floats and scantily dressed women at the Sambadrome.
But the rowdy and noisy crowds also create massive traffic jams, leave behind piles of trash and even urinate in the streets.
This year, an estimated 800 000 people are expected to take part in the 151 "blocos" from Thursday to February 16, ahead of the Sambadrome extravaganza scheduled for February 19 and 20.
More than 8 000 chemical toilets will be set up for the revellers.
The first major test will come on Saturday when 50 000 people are expected to attend the Banda de Ipanema bloco, famous for its gay-friendly atmosphere.