Fighting racism, racial pride are themes of some top Rio Carnival samba group’s parades

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A reveler from the Sao Clemente samba school poses for a photo as he waits for the start of the Carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana) (The Associated Press)

Racial pride and battles against racism are themes for some of the flashy samba group’s presentations and street parties as Rio de Janeiro’s flamboyant Carnival parades enter their second night.

Some samba groups parading Monday have put together dance numbers that honor Afro-Brazilian heritage, and one of them built a giant Nelson Mandela float. It’s meant to remind people of his fight for equality, while also calling for more racial integration in the Southern American nation, which has more blacks than any other nation aside from Nigeria.

Top-tier samba group Imperatriz Leopoldinense taking part in Monday night’s parades says its presentation was in part inspired by incidents of racism in soccer, such as fans tossing bananas at black Brazilian players in European league play.

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