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February 18, 2018

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After sharp criticism, Rio evangelical mayor opens Carnival

Updated Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 | 8:08 a.m.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio's evangelical mayor has attended the ceremonial opening of this year's Carnival after being sharply criticized for ducking out last year.

However, Mayor Marcelo Crivella did it in a way that many Carnival revelers will find strange.

Crivella was present for Friday's handing of the city's key to the Carnival king, but did not do it himself as previous mayors have done. Instead, he had a famous Rio family do it.

Crivella is a bishop in Brazil's powerful Universal Church of Kingdom of God and was elected mayor in 2016 with the help of the evangelical vote. Many evangelicals oppose Carnival.

Crivella has also cut about $1.5 million in funding for the famous samba school parades.