18 dead in a police operation in a group of favelas in Rio de Janeiro | International

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A police operation in a favela complex in Rio de Janeiro that lasted twelve hours ended this Thursday afternoon with 18 dead, including a policeman and a woman who was driving in the area. It is the third deadliest operation in the city in just over a year. Some 400 agents have landed early in the Complexo do Alemão neighborhood to dismantle a criminal organization dedicated to theft of cars, truck shipments and banks. Criminals have stood up to the security forces. And the exchange of shots has lasted about 12 hours while the neighbors, terrified, took refuge as best they could in their precarious homes.

The boyfriend of the deceased has told the newspaper Balloon how it happened: “She was at my house, in Penha [un barrio de Río]and we came here [al Complexo do Alemão] to have breakfast with my aunt. At that moment, the shooting broke out. We stopped at a traffic light and soon my car was shot at. They hit him in the chest,” she explained, still in shock.

Brazilian police are among the deadliest in the world. Last year more than 6,000 people died in their operations. Several security forces participated in the incursion into the Complexo do Alemão, in addition to four helicopters and ten armored vehicles. Some bodies, such as the Military Police of São Paulo, are placing cameras on officers’ uniforms to combat easy triggering.

Two Rio police officers during the operation that has left 18 dead.Silvia Left (AP)

The Public Defender’s Office has expressed concern about the high number of victims. He has released a note in which he warns that “there are indications of serious rights violations, with the possibility that this is one of the operations with the highest rate of deaths in Rio de Janeiro.” The 18 dead have only been confirmed at the end of the afternoon. Throughout the day the balance was five, but simultaneously circulated images of relatives of those shot moving them wrapped in sheets to be treated.

Two months ago, 25 people died in an operation in another Rio neighborhood, in Vila Cruzeiro, and in May of last year the deadliest in the city’s history took place, with 28 deaths in the Jacarezinho favela.

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According to the Rio Ombudsman, the events that occurred this Thursday are similar to those that occurred a little over a year ago in Jacarezinho, where a uniformed officer also died in the middle of the operation. The data indicates that when an officer dies, police operations tend to be more brutal and end with a greater number of dead suspects.

A woman from the Alemão favela protests the police operation, this Thursday, in Rio de Janeiro.
A woman from the Alemão favela protests the police operation, this Thursday, in Rio de Janeiro.MAURO PIMENTEL (AFP)

Throughout the day the neighbors have been pouring out their anguish and their stories of the police raid on social networks with videos and testimonies. The police have reported after the criminals have set up fire barricades to prevent the passage of the agents. They have also sprayed the streets with oil to prevent it from advancing. Raids with deaths in poor neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro are relatively frequent. And the homonymous state is where the security forces are deadliest.

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