Tanks deployed in Rio crime crackdown

2010-11-25 18:16

Rio De Janeiro - Military tanks rolled into the Vila Cruzeiro slum in northern Rio de Janeiro on Thursday supporting a police crackdown on drug gangs, an AFP journalist on the scene reported.

At least 23 people have been killed in five days of clashes as Brazilian security forces seek to crush the gangs and impose the law in the violent slums, known here as favelas.

Police have deployed armoured vehicles, helicopters and thousands of heavily armed agents for the widespread crackdown.

However the first time since 2007, when the government focused on improving security in the favelas, that tanks have been deployed for such operations.

Six tanks entered the Vila Cruzeiro favela, where police say the drug gangs have taken refuge after they were forced out of 13 other slums, the AFP journalist said.

The gangs are fighting back by opening fire on police stations and setting cars and buses ablaze, police said.

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