- Title: BRAZIL: Rio police find bodies in slum as experts discuss wave of violence
- Date: 24th October 2009
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (OCTOBER 23, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF OSWALDO CRUZ FOUNDATION WHERE BRAZILIAN COMMISSION FOR DRUGS AND DEMOCRACY HELD A MEETING SIGN READING: "BRAZILIAN COMMISSION FOR DRUGS AND DEMOCRACY" VARIOUS OF MEETING DIRECTOR OF A SLUM NGO, RUBEM CESAR FERNANDES, SPEAKING AT MEETING VARIOUS OF MEETING (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) DIRECTOR OF A NGO, RUBEM CESAR FERNANDES, SAYING: "Drug trade feeds crime. So, nowadays, according to the law, it (drug trade) has become a criminal business that only benefits organized crime, which takes advantage of the huge retail market that is spread everywhere, all over the world, in the big cities, in the small cities, especially among young people." VARIOUS OF AUTHORITIES POSING FOR OFFICIAL PHOTO CLOSE OF PRESIDENT OF A SLUM NGO, CARLOS COSTA, IN MEETING (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) PRESIDENT OF A SLUM NGO, CARLOS COSTA, SAYING: "For many years, the circumstances helped violence grow. So, when you start to mess with them, to bother, reactions take place." VARIOUS OF HILL OF MONKEYS SLUM VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AND CARS IN THE STREETS NEAR HILL OF MONKEYS SLUM HILL OF MONKEYS SLUM
- Embargoed: 8th November 2009 12:00
- Location: Brazil
- Country: Brazil
- Reuters ID: LVA2UTAFPXK6JJFUZOLF9UZ5M7FY
- Story Text: Rio de Janeiro police launch latest offensive against drug traffickers in the city's slums and find six bodies in a favela on the seventh day of violence which has claimed 33 lives since the weekend.
Brazilian police on Friday (October 23) found six dead bodies in a slum in Rio de Janeiro's outskirts, the seventh day of violent clashes between rival drug gangs and law enforcement agents.
But the police have not confirmed whether these latest deaths are related to the wave of violence that erupted over the weekend claiming 33 lives.
Police launched more operations on Friday in the Vila Cruzeiro slum where intelligence agents believe the city's powerful Comando Vermelho (Red Command) drug faction are hiding a major weapons arsenal.
An intense shootout took place, closing schools and frightening the favela's residents, who sought shelter inside their homes.
An unidentified resident said their main concern was keeping their children safe at home.
"It's hard. We have to come down here, get our kids and go home as fast as we can because things are complicated," he said.
27 suspected gang members and three residents caught in cross-fire between gangs have been killed since Saturday, tarnishing Rio's image only a few weeks after it was awarded the 2016 Olympics.
The city's worst recent outbreak of violence has sparked several discussions about brutal police tactics, which frequently end up wounding and killing innocent residents in raids that have been consistently condemned by human rights groups.
Drug experts from various countries gathered in Rio on Friday morning for the second meeting of Brazil's Commission on Drugs and Democracy, where the focus was they city's recent wave of violence.
Rubem Cesar Fernandes, director of the Viva-Rio non-governmental organisation, said Brazil had to focus on cracking down on drug trade in order to fight crime.
"Drug trade feeds crime. So, nowadays, according to the law, it (drug trade) has become a criminal business that only benefits organized crime, which takes advantage of the huge retail market that is spread everywhere, all over the world, in the big cities, in the small cities, especially among young people," he told the meeting.
The president of a peace NGO in Rio's massive Rocinha slum, Carlos Costa, said this week's violence wave is taking place because police are finally provoking the drug gangs.
"For many years, the circumstances helped violence grow. So, when you start to mess with them, to bother, reactions take place," he said.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has offered Rio state nearly $60 million over six months to help combat the violence.
State authorities are searching for drug traffickers who brought a police helicopter down on Saturday, killing three police officers in the Morro dos Macacos (Hill of Monkeys) slum.
The police last year killed more than 1,100 suspects described as "resisting arrest". Rights groups say residents killed in police raids are routinely labeled as suspected criminals, without investigations to back up the charge.
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