Residents In Rio Kick Off Easter With Protest Against Police

Protests against police have broken out near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, adding to mounting concerns about the city’s safety for the upcoming World Cup. The World Cup is scheduled to be held June 12th and July 13th if everything goes according to plan. Except that recent protests in Brazil have put a kink in plans and the world is hesitant to visit a city in chaos.

This Easter protest began after the deaths of two young men. 21-year-old Anderson Santos Silva was shot by a stray bullet outside a gathering on Good Friday in a police standoff with suspected drug dealers. “The young man died trying to protect his mother and sister,” said Niteroi’s Catholic Church in a statement. The other, 17-year-old Emanoel Gomes, died after crashing into an armored police truck while driving his motorbike. There have been growing tension between residents and the police because of negligence and endangerment. Most incidents occur in shanty towns around the city of Rio de Janeiro where criminal activity is busiest.

In recent months there’s been an increase of police action near Rio de Janeiro, in part due to the upcoming World Cup. Brazilian police are also under pressure from the international community to shape up by 2016 for the Summer Olympics. Progress has been made by police trying to clean up the streets. The Mare slum complex was recently recovered by the police after a 3,000 man army of badges stormed the place. Mare is one of the city’s most dangerous shanty towns and it’s location, near the main international airport, has made it a priority for police. Up until the major police operation, Mare had been controlled by some of the country’s most dangerous and notorious drug lords.

In the Easter protests residents in the Caramujo shanty town have set fire to four busses and three cars. They are in the streets calling for justice. According to Amnesty International nearly 2,000 people die every year in Brazil in careless and violent police actions.

Once the World Cup comes to town the city is expected to be in lockdown. Brazil Air Force announced that during the month-long event air space over participating cities will be declared a no fly zone. That means any intruding planes over the World Cup’s 12 cities will be considered terrorists and shot down. However, according to Brazil’s national law shooting down civilian aircraft is not allowed.