Thursday, June 30

Bolsonaro calls policemen who participated in the police massacre in Rio de Janeiro “brave warriors”


  • The action of the military police in the northern area of ​​the “wonderful city” caused 25 deaths and six injuries

brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro claimed responsibility for the action of the military police against drug trafficking in a marginal neighborhood in the north of Rio de Janeiro, which in the early hours of last Wednesday caused 25 deaths and six injuries. The controversy was immediate after he praised the Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) that entered the Villa Cruzeiro favela with bullets. When a video was already known on social networks showing how uniformed men were shooting at its residents, Bolsonaro called them “brave warriors” that “in a confrontation they neutralized at least 20 marginals, linked to drug trafficking.” But, at the same time, the retired captain returned to point out his rhetorical bursts against the media that “demonize those who risk their lives for us.”

The BOPE action has become the second bloodiest in Rio’s history. Despite the apology of the retired captain, the possibility of justice taking action on the matter is not ruled out. The green light was issued in the events by Edson Fachin, one of the members of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) when expressing his “alarm” for the number of deaths. A court from Rio de Janeiro did not take too long to express its desire to determine whether “human rights violations were committed during that operation.” Rio’s Public Ministry has given BOPE 10 days to send data related to its Wednesday action.

The security authorities recalled that the objective of the military police mission was to arrest leaders of the Vermelho Command, one of the most influential drug factions in Brazil and with tentacles in Paraguay. The BOPE assured that the machine guns of its members vomited only after being attacked. Human rights defenders know this argument by heart: it has been repeated ever since the slums have become a serious problem that usually has a strong hand as a response. Only one BOPE member was injured.

strong criticism

“Bolsonaro joined the police operation that ended with 25 deaths in Rio. In the networks, the president congratulated the agents, complained about the press and dedicated four pale words to the innocent woman who was shot dead in action. It was more energy than he spent in his entire term to develop a security policy for the country,” said Bruno Boghossian, a columnist for Folha of Saint Paul. In the 2018 elections in which he was the winner, the retired captain added, “I had sold the idea that I would have a magical solution to violence”. He performed “an act of illusion whose central points were the release of weapons and the incitement to kill.” In addition to not solving the problem, Boghossian added, Bolsonaro “buried the debate on public security in Brazil“.

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Growth of massacres

The “iron hand” is a kind of cult of those who govern the state of Rio de Janeiro. Ridden to the Bolsonarist wave, Wilson Witzel He won the 2018 elections and took office with the promise to shoot “criminals”, if even a missile was needed. Witzel clashed with Bolsonaro and was removed from office for corruption in August 2020 without the far-right government coming to his aid. Since he began his interim term as governor, the Bolsonarista also Claudio Castro, has not departed from that punitive policy. In 20 months the security forces have carried out 74 operations with an average of 3.8 deathsslightly less than during the Witzel era, and a total of 330 civilian deaths, according to research by the Fluminense Federal University.

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A police operation with three deaths is considered a massacre. In 2011, 20 episodes of this nature were recorded. Seven years later, the “cured meats (butcher shops, as the press calls them)” rose to 63. The number jumped to 79 in Witzel’s first year and dropped to 43 in 2020 only because the STF restricted police operations in the favelas as a result of the lockdown and the pandemic. Eleven years ago, the police were responsible for 12% of the deaths in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro. Last year, this percentage was 35%: one in three deaths was caused by a state representative.

“Castro’s government is very complicated, highly lethal and has a very denialist performance regarding Rio’s main problem, which is security,” he told the magazine capital letter the sociologist Daniel Hirata, professor and coordinator of the Study Group on New Illegalities of the Fluminense Federal University. He recalled that the current interim governor is running in the October elections for a second full term and has a high vote intention.

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