Last year, the contest ended in a draw between the Mocidade and Portela schools. Politics aside, thirteen samba schools from the top division were facing off in a talent contest taken every bit as seriously as the city's great love - football. So although 17, police have been deployed for the carnival, large parts of Rio, like Rocinha or City of God, are virtual no-go zones for both police and tourists. Each school gets about an hour to parade through the purpose-built stadium with about 3, dancers, singers and drummers dressed in over-the-top costumes. The samba parades used to be a magnet for politicians before a sprawling corruption investigation around state-run oil giant Petrobras began in George Damiao, 38, who was taking part in the Imperio Serrano school's parade, said: "The schools had to use every trick to find sponsors at the last minute and make miracles for the parade to happen. Locals in those areas, dubbed favelas, have to survive in the crossfire of drug gangs and the security forces. Comments are subject to our community guidelines, which can be viewed here.
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