Brazil police push into Rio de Janeiro slums

2014-03-30 21:04
(Christophe Simon, AFP)

(Christophe Simon, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rio de Janeiro - More than 1 400 police officers and Brazilian Marines rolled into a massive complex of slums near Rio de Janeiro's international airport before dawn on Sunday in the latest security push ahead of this year's World Cup.

Not a shot was fired as the Mare complex of 15 slums became the latest impoverished area to see security forces move in to take control and try to push out heavily armed drug gangs that have ruled Rio's shantytowns for decades.

In the coming days, Army soldiers will begin patrolling the virtually treeless, flat area of about 5km² in northern Rio that hugs the main road to the airport and is home to about 130 000 people.

Security forces will eventually set up permanent posts in Mare as part of the "pacification" program that began in 2008 and is meant to secure Rio ahead of not the World Cup and also the 2016 Summer Olympics. Police have installed 37 such posts in recent years in an area covering 1.5 million people.

Sunday's operation comes at a critical time for the security effort. In recent months, gangs have brazenly attacked police outposts in other shantytowns on orders from imprisoned gang leaders who want to stymie the spread of "pacified" slums. With each area policy occupy, gangs lose valuable territory for the manufacture and sale of drugs.

Hilda Guimares, an elderly woman who slowly shuffled down a street on her way to church in Mare as officers from Rio's elite BOPE police unit quickly moved past, said she welcomed the presence of the state.

"This had to happen and it's about time," said Guimares, a longtime resident of the area. "We've needed to clean up this neighbourhood for so long, but we've always been ignored. For too many years these gangs have been ruling this place."

Other residents, most of whom were too afraid of both the police and the gangs to give their names, had mixed feelings.

Over the arc of the 5-year-old "pacification" programme, shootouts in the affected slums are unquestionably down. But many residents complain of heavy-handed police tactics.

More than 20 police who patrolled in Rio's largest slum, Rocinha, are facing charges for the torture, disappearance and presumed death of a slum resident there, whom they were questioning in an effort to find caches of drugs and guns in the community.

Additionally, residents say that after police set up permanent posts in slums, the state is not following up with strong social programs that would improve their lives.

"I didn't believe the police would actually come until I saw them enter before dawn," said Sabrina, a 15-year-old girl working at a snack stand who asked that her last name not be used, saying she was afraid of retribution by gang members. "Those of us who live here are stuck between the gangs and the police; we don't know who is really going to control this place."

- AP
Read more on:    brazil
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.