( dpa ) - A float intended to remember the Holocaust has provoked protests in the Carnival city of Rio de Janeiro, local media reports said Wednesday.
The controversial float that shows piles of artificial bodies was expected to appear accompanied by samba rhythms in the city's Carnival stadium, the Sambodromo, late Sunday, on the first day of parades.
The Jewish community in the Brazilian metropolis has said it considers the float inappropriate.
Marco Lira, the head of the samba group Viradouro that is responsible for the float, said he did not intend to withdraw the controversial piece.
"We want to represent a historical event and to issue a warning. This is a very serious float. It is not disrespectful. Carnival is also there to inform people," Lira said.
Protests also poured in from neighbouring Argentina. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Buenos Aires said Carnival should not be misused to violate the memory of the Holocaust.
A procession with music and half-naked men and women dancing happily does not serve the memory of Holocaust victims and is instead "an abominable spectacle for survivors and their families," the centre said in a statement.
The Nazi regime systematically killed around 6 million people - most of them Jews - during the Holocaust throughout Europe until 1945.