Carnival champions decry Rio mayor's 'betrayal'

The president of the current champion of Rio's Carnival has questioned Mayor Marcelo Crivella's refusal to meet with the samba schools to discuss the budget cuts for next year's celebration.

During a demonstration Monday outside city hall, Luis Carlos Magalhaes of Portela accused Rio de Janeiro's mayor of "betrayal" and demanded dialogue to work out the financial problems.

In office since January, Crivella had won the support of the samba schools during last year's election with promises of increased public investment.

Brazilian governments at all levels are facing tough choices and major budget cuts following an economic recession. However, representatives of the samba schools argue that the Carnival is not an expenditure, but an investment with a return of $912 million (3 billion reals) for the city.