Brazil Carnival goes online with street parties banned

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A woman dressed as a superhero and wearing a mask to curb the spread of the new coronavirus performs in the "Desliga da Justica" street band in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. Their performance was broadcast live on social media for those who were unable to participate in the carnival due to COVID restrictions after the city's government officially suspended Carnival and banned street parades or clandestine parties. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

RIO DE JANEIRO – Supergirl came out of the dressing room ready for action as usual.

She took her place alongside Freddy Krueger, Poison Ivy and Captain America and they kicked off, into song.

That idiosyncratic lineup is a typical sort of lineup for the Carnival street band Desliga da Justica, but this year they were facing cameras in a studio and the fans were scattered across the internet instead of dancing in the streets during one of the world's most iconic celebrations.

“Everybody at home, move the furniture out of the way to dance and drink cold beer,” called out the woman dressed as Poison Ivy, who began the show with a traditional Carnival song.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Rio to shut down its famed festival and threaten legal action against those who defy the ban to party. So groups like Desliga — the name is a Portuguese language play on “Justice League” — turned to online events for their backers, streaming music and dances via YouTube and other social media platforms.

This year, all members of the band took a PCR test for coronavirus on Sunday when they arrived at studio in the south of Rio.

Desliga has been holding the parties since 2009 and the gatherings have been growing ever since.

“When everyone is immunized, we are going to have the biggest Carnival that Brazil has ever seen. Wait for us until 2022,” said Supergirl, aka Carla de Freitas, 38. “We want everyone to be healthy and protected to have fun in peace”.