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Rio Carnival 2012 in pictures: Fun and chaos on the streets of Brazil

Millions of revellers in Rio de Janeiro enjoyed the fun, sun and sequins of the five-day Carnival, a time of joyous excess when the streets fill with bands and people dancing and drinking.

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Rio's star is rising of late, as the city prepares to host the final matches of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, and this year's Carnival is forecast to be an even bigger blowout than usual, with 20 per cent more tourists expected than in 2011.

Rio officials say they are better prepared to keep the chaos under control, with more portable toilets, traffic guards and paramedics, as well as a new central command centre.

Although the carnival is most famous for extravagant costumed parades in the city's Sambadrome arena, many residents prefer to celebrate with local street parties.

Organisers said 2.5 million people took part in the street parade that lasted nearly seven hours.

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