Archive for Friday, February 1, 2008

Judge bans carnival float depicting Holocaust

February 1, 2008

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— There will be no simulated pile of naked, emaciated corpses - and no dancing Hitler - at the world's biggest street party.

A judge on Thursday blocked a carnival float meant to show that the Holocaust "gives you goose bumps."

Workers began dismantling the float to rebuild it for this weekend's parade, television footage showed. Viradouro, the top Rio samba group responsible for the float, said it was designed to remind carnivalgoers of past horrors to prevent them from happening again.

But Jewish leaders were outraged. The Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro sued under federal laws prohibiting Nazi propaganda and racism in Brazil, said Lara Voges, a court spokeswoman.

The designer of the float, Paulo Barros, wept as workers tore it apart and said the group meant no disrespect by depicting holocaust victims.

Rio's two-night Samba parade, featuring thousands of scantily clad and elaborately plumed dancers, is the high point of Brazil's carnival celebrations and is televised nationally in a country of 185 million people.

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