At least 18 people have been killed during a police raid against organized crime in a poor neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. A Brazilian police spokesman said they were 16 suspected criminals, residents of the favela (slums) Complexo do Alemão and a policeman.
About 400 officers participated in the operation. They were supported by four planes and ten armored vehicles.
Police said the gang was involved in theft of goods and bank robberies and was planning raids on rival slums. “There are indications of massive violations of human rights and it may be the process with the highest death toll in Rio de Janeiro,” the state’s attorney general said.
After the raid, local residents were seen putting the injured into cars to take them to the hospital while the police watched.
According to Gilberto Santiago Lopez of the human rights organization Anacrim, the police refused to provide assistance. “The police don’t want to arrest them, they want to kill them. So when they’re hurt, they don’t think they deserve help.” The neighbors were angry and shouted at the officers.
Police in Rio de Janeiro regularly conduct operations in the capital’s sprawling slums. President Jair Bolsonaro is behind the crackdown on organized crime and has previously said gang members “should die like cockroaches”.
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