Brazil Carnival 2012 came to an end on Tuesday. Visitors from all over the globe attended the celebration as an estimated 400 blocos (parades) occupied the streets of Rio de Janeiro.
This year's highly anticipated event played a crucial role in deciding whether Brazil's capital city was ready to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. And while reports from the parties reflect a peaceful yet festive gathering, there was much tension on the streets of the Rio.
With some of the city's most popular parades attracting a record 2.2 million revelers, Rio locals had raised concerns about the safety precautions being taken for this year's events.
Police strikes in Rio and the northeastern city of Salvador that took place one week before Carnival caused residents to fear that crime and violence would put a blemish on the 2012 celebrations.
According to reports, the only notable incident was a Rio shootout between police and a drug gang that left one person dead and four wounded in a slum located approximately two miles from the Sambadrome.
Other than that, it was a well-controlled event that had the attention of 1,000 traffic guards and 80 mobile paramedics, as well as a new central command center that monitored it all.
There were so many cops around, Ali Werner, a 23-year-old tourist from Long Island, New York, told the International Business Times. They were very lenient though. I think they just wanted to prevent any violence, as opposed to preventing us from having a good time.
The new command center, which has been operational since November, made its Carnival debut this year keeping close eyes on the nearly 400 parties that took place. And by utilizing its 5000 cameras across the city, it played a key role in keeping the festivities under control.
While the Brazil Carnival 2012 wrapped up Tuesday with Samba processions inside Rio's Sambadrome, an estimated 72,500 onlookers packed the newly renovated arena.
The parade was a culmination of events that took place over that past three days. Making up the spectacular scene inside the dome were captivating samba beats, elaborate choreography and large amounts of sex appeal among the samba queens who were wearing colourful feathers and little else.
I saw lots of half-naked girls in colorful samba costumes, Werner said. People went crazy and the costumes just added that much more fun to the parades
The night parades, which went on into the early hours of the mourning, marked the high point of the pre-Lent festival as it cemented Rio's reputation as a venue for greater events to come.
Some of the loudest applause from the crowd went to performers representing Olympic athletes holding Brazilian and Uniao da Ilha do Gobernador flags and wearing uniforms with the inscription Rio 2016.
According to Carlos Roberto Osório, the municipal secretary for conservation and public services, the 2016 Olympic Games, which are set to be held in Rio, will attract up to nine million spectators.