Millions dancing at Brazil's Carnival

Rio de Janeiro's famous carnival is underway with millions of revellers dancing in the streets.
Rio de Janeiro's famous carnival is underway with millions of revellers dancing in the streets.

Millions of Brazilians and tourists are dancing in the streets of the country's main cities to the rhythm of the street bands on the first official day of this year's Carnival.

The revellers in cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo were undeterred by the rain on Saturday.

The Cordao da Bola Preta "bloco" or troupe, which paraded through the streets of downtown Rio de Janeiro, attracted the biggest crowds, while the Galo da Madrugada bunch enlivened a nine-hour party in the historic centre of Recife.

These two troupes are competing in the Guinness Book of Records for the title of the world's best Carnival troupe and traditionally parade the Saturday of Carnival.

Despite the fine rain that fell all day on Rio de Janeiro, the Cordao da Bola Preta attracted close to 1.5 million people to a parade that began on Saturday morning in the downtown Quince Plaza and ended almost six hours later on Presidente Antonio Carlos Avenue.

The Galo de Madrugada bloco attracted close to two million people with a parade that went on for a little more than nine hours and had 30 "electric trios," as the trucks are known that come equipped with powerful loudspeakers and platforms that carry entire orchestras.

In the first Brazilian Carnival since sexual harassment was branded a crime, two gigantic floats broadcast messages of respect for women.

According to news media reporting Carnival activities, at least five million people enjoyed the troupes parading on the first day of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife and Belo Horizonte.

Australian Associated Press