Rio de Janeiro (Monitoring Desk) Protests in Brazil after an attack on a Rio de Janeiro favela left 25 people dead, including some who were allegedly killed in cold blood; Brazilian police faced angry demonstrations and a UN demand an investigation on Friday.
“Stop killing us!” demanded hundreds of demonstrators from Jacarezinho’s poor neighbourhood outside police headquarters, accusing officers of committing a “massacre.” Student Roger Denis told AFP, “This is one of the most violent actions in the history of the Rio police.
It was one of multiple planned protests in Brazil against Thursday’s police operation, which human rights groups described as the deadliest in the city’s history, especially in the poor, majority-black favelas, or slums.
The operation, according to police, was aimed at a drug cartel that was recruiting children and teenagers. It transformed the northern neighborhood into a war zone on Thursday morning, with bodies littered about and streams of blood in the streets.
One of the victims was a police officer who was shot in the head and whose death was predicted to attract emotional dedications from colleagues as well as security hawks including President Jair Bolsonaro and his inner circle on Friday afternoon.
According to police, the other 24 people killed were “criminals,” and they are now under mounting pressure to show it, as well as concerns about why they were killed rather than arrested. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Office, told reporters in Geneva that the killings had “deeply upset” his office, and that prosecutors should launch a “independent, comprehensive, and impartial investigation.
Aerial TV video from the attack showed armed men on rooftops passing what seemed to be high-powered rifles from hand to hand, according to residents.
Before opening fire, officers had followed all procedures, according to police, who showed significant amounts of drugs and weapons confiscated during the operation.