Rio Police Raid on Favela Kills at Least 18, Angry Rio Residents!

At least 18 people were killed Thursday when police went after gang members in Rio de Janeiro’s largest complex of favelas, which are low-income neighborhoods. It was one of the deadliest raids the city has seen in recent years and is already drawing more criticism of police violence.

Rio authorities said 16 suspected criminals were killed in confrontations with police in Complexo do Alemao along with a police officer and a woman. A police spokesman said the raid targeted a criminal group that stole cars and robbed banks and invaded nearby neighborhoods.

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Videos that were shared on social media showed criminals shooting at each other and a police helicopter flying low over the small brick houses. Rio’s police have shot at targets from helicopters, even in neighborhoods with a lot of people, and video shows that shots were fired from the favela at the helicopters.

At the site of the raid, reporters from the Associated Press saw people carrying about 10 bodies while others shouted, “We want peace!” Locals said that anyone who tried to help the hurt risked being arrested.

Rio Police Raid on Favela

“It’s a massacre inside, which police are calling an operation,” one woman told AP, speaking on the condition of anonymity because she feared reprisals from authorities. ”They’re not letting us help (victims),” she added, saying she saw one man arrested for attempting to do so.

A Rio’s police force spokesman said some of the criminals wore uniforms to disguise themselves as police officers.

“I would rather they (the suspects) had not reacted and then we could have arrested 15, 14 of them. But unfortunately they chose to fire at our policemen,” said Ronaldo Oliveira, an investigator of Rio’s police.

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