Millions party at Rio Carnival

The Rio Carnival has come alive with more than 2 million revellers in outlandish costumes staging a mammoth, frenzied samba-driven street festival in the city centre.

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

Spurred on by the thumping pulsating samba beat of a marching brass band, people strutted along Rio Branco Avenue in outlandish costumes, from Cleopatra or the Pope to clowns and cross-dressers wearing masks, bright red or fluorescent green wigs and oversized glasses.

Under sunny skies and in a good-natured atmosphere, men in baby nappies or wearing garish pink or green tutus danced and sang.

Other Brazilian cities, including Sao Paulo, also celebrated the annual pre-Lent festival.