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Photos of a gun battle in a Rio de Janeiro favela between 400 police and armed suspected criminals

Police officers take positions during an operation against drug gangs in Alemao slums complex, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 21, 2022.
Police officers take positions during an operation against drug gangs in Alemao slums complex, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 21, 2022.
  • At least 18 people have died in a police raid in a favela, a low-income neighborhood or slum, in Rio de Janeiro. 
  • It prompted anger about police brutality and racism in the city. 
  • This report contains images and details some readers may find distressing. 

Eighteen people died during a police raid on a favela, a low-income community sometimes called a slum or shanty town, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 21.

Authorities said 16 suspected criminals were killed in clashes with heavily armed police at the Complexo do Alemao favela, AP reports, and a police officer and a woman died. The raid targeted a criminal group that stole cars, robbed banks, and invaded nearby neighborhoods, said police, per AP.

AP also reports that police used helicopters in the raid. Videos on social media showed gun battles between police and suspected criminals and shots fired at a police helicopter.

 

Residents of the favela, one of the largest in Rio de Janeiro, caught in the crossfire protested with white flags. They demanded an end to the violence inflicted on their community.

18 people were left dead after the siege Complexo do Alemao favela
Residents carry a body wrapped in a cloth to a waiting vehicle after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Residents carry a body wrapped in a cloth to a waiting vehicle after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

So far, the death toll sits at 18, which includes one police officer, 16 alleged criminals and a female bystander, police said.

Approximately 400 officers, four aircraft and 10 armored vehicles were sent to the raid the favela. 

Brazil's public defender said "There are signs of major human rights violations, and the possibility of this being one of the operations with the highest number of deaths in Rio de Janeiro," Reuters reports. 

Rio police criticized
Residents place a wounded man in the back of a truck after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Residents place a wounded man in the back of a truck after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

The assault on the favela has sparked criticism of Rio's police force. 

Writing on Twitter, Talíria Petrone, a federal lawmaker for Rio, said, "This failed public security policy leaves residents and police on the ground, en masse. It's no longer possible to keep piling up Black bodies and favela residents every day!"

Speaking to NPR, Robert Muggah, co-founder of Igarapé Institute, "The killings resulting from large scale police operations is a grim reminder that militarized policing is not only ineffective, it is counterproductive." 

 

Deadly favela raids common
Residents place a wounded man on a dolly after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Residents place a wounded man on a dolly after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

This raid is not the first of its kind, with Amnesty International Brazil stating that they are becoming common practice. 

"We are halfway through the year and, practically every month, Amnesty International Brazil has gone public to repudiate massacres in favelas in Rio de Janeiro. This situation seems to indicate that Governor Cláudio Castro is using the massacres as a public security policy." Jurema Werneck, Executive Director of Amnesty International Brazil, wrote in a statement. 

Rio de Janeiro needs to turn the page on this violence immediately," she added. 

 

Residents wave white flags
A resident waves a white sheet in protest and to ask for peace after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
A resident waves a white sheet in protest and to ask for peace after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

Residents of the favela protesting the police presence waved white sheets.

According to Associated Press, residents were walking through the favela carrying bodies as bystanders around them shouted, "We want peace!"

The UN has raised concerns over police brutality in Brazil
Residents shout at police in protest against a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Residents shout at police in protest against a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

At the beginning of July, the UN released a report over police brutality in Brazil, saying, "We have repeatedly raised our concerns about the excessive and lethal use of force used by Brazilian law enforcement officials and the disproportionate impact on Brazilians of African descent.

However, the latest reports of police brutality appear to show that such human rights violations continue with impunity," the report says. 

Black residents are more likely to experience police brutality
Police conduct an operation in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Police conduct an operation in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

According to Brown University,  young black Rio residents are more than twice as likely to be the victim of a homicide than white citizens of the same age group, with most of these killings being perpetrated by police. 

 

Police defend their actions
A resident waves a white sheet in protest after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
A resident waves a white sheet in protest after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

The Washington Post reports that Rio police said the suspects dressed in military uniforms to confuse the police, blocked the roads, and used residents as human shields.

The police have defended their actions, with Ronaldo Oliveira, who handles operations for Rio police saying, "We chose the day and time to try our best and avoid conflict," the Post reports.

Police refused to help the injured
A military vehicle drives past tires set on fire by residents to protest against a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
A military vehicle drives past tires set on fire by residents to protest against a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

Gilberto Santiago Lopes, from the Anacrim Human Rights Commission, told Reuters that police refused to help the injured. 

"We had to carry them away in a beverage truck and then flag a local resident in their car to take them to hospital," he said.

"[The police] don't aim to arrest them, they aim to kill them, so if they're injured, they think they don't deserve help."

Police actions are at the heart of the political debate in the runup to the general election
Residents use a cart to transport a body after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Residents use a cart to transport a body after a police operation that resulted in multiple deaths, in the Complexo do Alemao favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 21, 2022.

Police violence and security have been — and continue to be — the subject of an intense debate in Brazil's upcoming general election, which will take place on October 2. 

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's right-wing president who is seeking reelection, has previously said that criminals should "die like roaches."

The left-wing Brazilian Workers' Party has announced it has nominated Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to run to lead Brazil. Commonly known as Lula, he led the country from 2003 to 2010. 

Speaking last year, Lula said, "Many times, when police go [to favelas], they don't go to solve violence. They contribute. They bring in violence, as well," The Washington Post reports.

 

Read the original article on Insider








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