A state of emergency has been declared in Brazil's Rio Grande do Norte in a bid to quell widespread looting and riots prompted by police strikes which have so far lasted 19 days.
The emergency measure, which will remain in effect for 180 days, was announced in an official decree on Saturday. It rules that every public administration good, service and employee remains at the government's disposal.
The decree also authorizes the government to acquire, without a tender process, any service or good required to "normalize the public security services."
The police strike started December 20 in protest at delayed payments and unsuitable working conditions, such as the lack of official vehicles.
Police in Brazil are banned from striking, so officers have confined themselves within barracks and police stations, refusing to patrol the streets.
In response, President Michel Temer sent in army and national force troops. At least 3,000 soldiers are currently patrolling Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte state.