Violence Erupts In Rio Slums Near 2016 Olympic Venues; World Cup Concerns Persist
A Rio de Janeiro slum "erupted in violence late Tuesday following the killing of a popular local figure," according to Bradley Brooks of the AP. Exchanges of gunfire "were heard when members of an elite police moved into the Pavao-Pavaozinho slum," which lies a few hundred yards from where swimming events are expected to take place at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was the latest violence to hit one of Rio's so-called "pacified" slums -- impoverished areas "that for decades were controlled by drug gangs." Police "began an ambitious security program in 2008 to drive the gangs from such slums and for the first time set up permanent posts." It is "part of Rio's overall security push ahead of the World Cup that begins this June and the Olympics the city will host" (AP, 4/23). The BBC reported witnesses said that cars "were set ablaze, the local police station was attacked and gunfire could be heard from the favela." One resident said, "There was smoke everywhere, shots in the street and people racing for their homes." Amnesty Int'l said that some 2,000 people "die every year in Brazil as a result of police violence" (BBC, 4/23).