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‘Stop killing us’: Rio favela people demand answers after shot | Gun Violence Stories


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Monica Cunha felt the need to speak. This is why the protagonist joined a group of other women – all of whom had lost their children to Brazilian violence a few years ago – to denounce Rio de Janeiro’s brutality. very dangerous police on record.

“We are disgusted,” said Cunha, who is still reeling from the tragic death of her son in police custody 15 years ago in connection with the Jacarezinho favela violence last week. “For the past 15 years I have not seen protests at this level killing young people. These guys are human; has a name and a surname. We condemn this killing. ”

Holding placards reading, “Stop killing us!”, The woman was among about 100 people who entered Jacarezinho’s door on Friday morning. Less than 24 hours before this, a very poor favela had woke up with a gun.

Many of the state and federal police have intervened in the North Zone in an operation that allegedly involved drug traffickers. Citizens have been terrified and trapped when bombs exploded in the streets and helicopters surrounded their red brick homes during long hours of work killed 28 people – especially boys.

Although Dangerous anger of COVID-19, Friday night thousands of human rights activists marched on the metro to Jacarezinho, about 18km (11 miles) off the famous Rio coast of Copacabana, to denounce the violence and avoid police retribution. The streets were crowded with candles. “Stop killing favelas!” the crowd roared.

Physical awareness

Following the discovery of a 48-year-old police officer killed in the operation, Rio police on Saturday released 27 other victims. The state police in Rio de Janeiro and the state police, the agency said, “the operation was carried out” without incident “after an investigation found that children and adolescents were being recruited to join the Comando Vermelho drug-control group.

State police wrote Thursday that they have orders to arrest 21 “suspects”.

The Rio de Janeiro State Human Rights Commission (OAB-RJ), an independent judicial committee, told Al Jazeera that families from favela identified the bodies of 16 people killed when police arrived on Friday, before police could identify the victims. They were men between the ages of 18 and 34.

Commission president Alvaro Quintao said the bodies arrived late Friday afternoon.

“Police arrested and shot six young men on the suspects’ list, but at least 13 of those killed were not involved in the initial investigation,” Quintao said. “We can honestly say that not all of them were criminals. Some of the people on the list had already committed crimes but had already ruled. ”

People have a Brazilian flag, inscribed ‘Genocidal state’, as they stage protests against police brutality in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 8 [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

Photos shared by Al Jazeera showed police carrying bodies. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights He said On Friday it said it had received “reports of complaints that after the incident, the police did nothing to keep evidence at the scene of the crime, which could have hampered the investigation into the murder”.

Government response

The police have denied anything or “killing” anyone – such as human rights organizations is being prosecuted – meanwhile in Jacarezinho. He was said to be acting in self-defense.

Brazilian government officials, including Vice President Hamilton Mourao, also confirmed that the victims were “all terrorists” – without giving any evidence or explaining the crimes they allegedly committed. “Unfortunately, drug trafficking and real narco-guerillas have control in some areas,” Mourao said on Friday.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army chief who said last year that terrorists should “die like cockroaches”, on Friday posted a picture on social media of five guns, a handgun, two rifles and six grenades seized. He also said that anyone who protects terrorists is a “traveler”.

But residents, human rights activists and lawyers said it was too late to reveal the names of the victims and that the police were aware that not all of them had been killed by the terrorists.

“There is no death penalty in Brazil. Even if they become suspicious, the police will not be able to identify the occupants and the deceased. He still needs to be tried, “said Renata Sousa, a deputy in Rio de Janeiro State (Alerj) who serves on a special committee on poverty alleviation.

The Ministry of Public Affairs Ministry wrote Thursday night to investigate any complaints and prosecute cases through the attorney general’s office in Rio de Janeiro. But the UN has called for an independent inquiry and has condemned “unreasonable and inconsistent” use of force on Rio police.

‘Mass murder’

Bruno Fernandes, a lawyer and a professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, told Al Jazeera that the investigation should be based on the operation and the police who killed him.

Fernandes said police deaths were considered appropriate if police or civilian lives were at risk. But he said shooting at unarmed people, or anyone who didn’t shoot, was legal.

Residents of Favela and local media reported that despite the shooting, many of those killed were trying to flee, did not fight, tried to surrender and were shot indoors.

“Many residents said some of the boys tried to negotiate suicide, but were shot dead. Some were taken from family homes and shot. There were pools of blood. It was killing a lot of people,” Sousa said.

Brazilian Supreme Court Judge Edson Fachin has also expressed concern about the violence.

In a letter to the public leader on Friday, Fachin said a video of the police operation appears to show “immediate execution”. The judge said he needed to be informed of the investigation so that those involved could be held accountable.

Police pull out of a military vehicle in a crackdown on suspected drug dealers in Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro on May 6 [File: Silvia Izquierdo/Reuters]

This dangerous attack took place despite Fachin’s decision in June 2020, to ban police from favelas during the COVID-19 epidemic. Prohibition includes banning the use of helicopters only if they are “extremely special”.

According to a report from Ceni, a research group at Fluminense Federal University (UFF), favela threats dropped by 70% in the first two months after Fachin’s order, but it rose again in October.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Rio de Janeiro State Governor Claudio Castro has announced a new appointment. Allan Turnowski, one of his first questions, said he would not respect the ban and prevent the use of tanks on favelas.

‘Invisible’ death

For residents and freedom fighters, the bloodbath in Jacarezinho is just one example of the many “unseen” massacres committed by Rio police – one of the most violent in the world.

Fogo Cruz, a technology firm that controls police brutality, estimates that more than 1,000 people have been killed in 275 police camps in Rio de Janeiro state in the past five years. The Institute of Public Security, a government intelligence agency, also found that one death occurred as a result of a 10-hour police crackdown on government officials, but police are rarely prosecuted.

A 2015 Amnesty International report that analyzed 220 investigations into the 2011 police killings in Rio de Janeiro states that 183 of these complaints were expected four years later.

However, residents and human rights activists hope that international pressure will bring justice to the families of young men in Jacarezinho – as well as provide solutions to the ongoing violence of public safety in Rio.

“How is it possible that the operation that ended in the killing of 28 people is going well,” asked Cunha, a local human rights activist.

Citizens take pictures of blood on the street after a police operation in Jacarezinho [Silvia Izquierdo/AP Photo]


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