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In Rio de Janeiro, dog owners defy ban on Carnival parties

February 27, 2022 GMT
A woman holds her pet dog during the annual Dog Carnival Parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Rio's Street Carnival festivities were canceled due to a wave of the Omicron variant, but pet lovers gathered to compete for the best costume of their four-legged companions. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)
A woman holds her pet dog during the annual Dog Carnival Parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Rio's Street Carnival festivities were canceled due to a wave of the Omicron variant, but pet lovers gathered to compete for the best costume of their four-legged companions. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)
A woman holds her pet dog during the annual Dog Carnival Parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Rio's Street Carnival festivities were canceled due to a wave of the Omicron variant, but pet lovers gathered to compete for the best costume of their four-legged companions. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)
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A woman holds her pet dog during the annual Dog Carnival Parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Rio's Street Carnival festivities were canceled due to a wave of the Omicron variant, but pet lovers gathered to compete for the best costume of their four-legged companions. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)
1 of 10
A woman holds her pet dog during the annual Dog Carnival Parade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. Rio's Street Carnival festivities were canceled due to a wave of the Omicron variant, but pet lovers gathered to compete for the best costume of their four-legged companions. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Dozens of dogs and their owners in Rio de Janeiro challenged a city ban on street parties and gathered for their annual Carnival parade Sunday.

Dressed to the nines, the dogs participated in the traditional costume contest inside a private club in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes neighborhood.

There was Lula dressed as a pink fairy, Cristal as a ballerina with a fuchsia tutu, and Elisa as a queen wearing a golden crown imprinted with red sapphires.

The furry gathering happened in spite of restrictions imposed in January by Mayor Eduardo Paes, who faced with a fast-spreading wave of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, postponed Carnival to April and banned street parties.

“Every year we have a costume contest and people are waiting for this day. So we thought, ‘Let’s have the (party) anyway,’” said Marco Antonio Veira, known as “Toto,” who has been an organizer for some 20 years.

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Debora Guedes made the trip from the nearby city of Sao Goncalo, more than an hour’s drive. She came with her 2 year-old dog, Briana, dressed in a Harry Potter outfit.

“I like Carnival but with a dog, it’s even more fun,” Guedes told the Associated Press.

Sunday’s “Blocao” — a mixture of “bloco” that refers to the traditional Carnival street parties and “cao,” dog in Portuguese — was not the only infringement to the city’s Carnival ban.

Since Saturday, when Carnival was supposed to kick in, revelers have been spotted in their colorful party outfits throughout the city, leaving a trail of glitter behind them.

Police officers, who in the past weeks have shut down several “blocos” from the moment they gathered, seemed more lenient with the thousands of party-people looking for some fun over the weekend.