In the wake of a raid on Rio de Janeiro’s biggest slum complex that left at least 18 people dead, there has been increased outcry over excessive police brutality and a discussion about how to deal with crime ahead of the state and federal elections.
Authorities in Rio de Janeiro have confirmed the deaths of 16 people, including a police officer and a woman, after a shootout with officers in the Complexo do Alemao slum. The operation was designed to take down a criminal gang that had been robbing banks and stealing automobiles in the area.
A police helicopter can be seen hovering low above the little, brick dwellings in the videos that have been spreading on social media. Even in highly populated residential neighbourhoods, Rio’s police have utilised helicopters to fire at targets, and footage shows rounds being fired at the aircraft from the slum.
Residents were seen dragging roughly ten dead from the scene of the raid while spectators chanted, “We want peace!”
An anonymous lady who spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity because she feared reprisals from authorities described the situation as “a bloodbath inside, which police are calling an operation.” According to her, “they are not allowing us aid (victims),” she claimed, citing an instance in which a guy was jailed for trying to help.
Police in Rio de Janeiro said they would rather have arrested suspects “but regrettably they decided to shoot at our cops.”
Cláudio Castro, the incumbent governor of Rio de Janeiro who is up for re-election in October, expressed his condolences for the loss of the police officer on Twitter.
“I’m going to keep fighting crime with all I’ve got. “We will not back down from our task of ensuring the safety of the citizens of our state,” Castro said.
“Such a crucial institution that makes us so proud,” Castro remarked in another tweet about his primary opponent in the elections, socialist Marcelo Freixo. He said that the governor “uses cops to create politics,” and Freixo agreed with him.
Violence and organised crime are being tackled with a strategy that often involves the use of lethal force by police. More than 20 individuals were slain in a raid on the Vila Cruzeiro slum in Rio de Janeiro in May.
In October, Brazil will vote for a new president, with security and President Jair Bolsonaro’s tough-on-crime policies at the forefront.
There has been enough of this genocide programme, governor! Responding to the governor’s tweet was Taliria Petrone, a federal politician representing Rio. Residents and police alike are now on the ground because of this failing public safety strategy.” Every day, “Black corpses and favela dwellers can no longer be piled on top of one other.”
Igarapé Institute co-founder Robert Muggah characterised Thursday’s raid as a “symptom of weak leadership and an institutional culture that condones disproportionate force.”
Shockingly, “large scale police operations are a grim reminder that militarised policing not only ineffective, it is counterproductive,” said Muggah, who added that those raids generate “extreme violence predominantly affecting low-income Black populations while also corroding the trust between residents and law enforcement” in a text message.
Nearly 70,000 people live in Alemao, a collection of 13 favelas in northern Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses found that almost three-quarters of them were either Black or multiracial.
In an effort to curtail police deaths and human rights abuses in Rio’s favelas, Brazil’s Supreme Court issued a set of requirements for officers conducting raids earlier this year. Lethal force can only be used after all other options have been explored and when it is absolutely required to save life.
According to the court’s decision, a 2021 raid on the Jacarezinho slum caused to the deaths of 28 persons. On Thursday, a soldier was killed during the raid, which some suspected at the time sparked additional mistreatment and killings.
According to authorities, Thursday’s operation started at the crack of dawn and was completed at 4 p.m. local time. According to the police statement, about 400 officers, including Rio’s tactical police squad, were engaged in the investigation.
Community news site Voz do Comunidade posted a video of locals waving white towels from their windows and roofs, pleading for peace.
Authorities are concerned that Friday will be another violent day at the Complexo do Alemao, according to police raid coordinator Fabrcio Oliveira.
Amnesty International has urged authorities to examine the police officers involved in Thursday’s raid swiftly.
According to a non-profit, “WHO WILL END Gov. Cláudio Castro’s terrible, rights-violating public security policies in Rio de Janeiro?” “Enough with the violence! “I WANT TO LIVE! THE FAVELA!”