Rio violence escalating, 23 dead

At least 23 people have been killed and 153 arrested in four days of clashes as Brazilian security forces crack down on drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro’s violent slums.

Heavily-armed men continued to stop cars and buses, rob passengers and set vehicles on fire, police said.

Military police said 15 suspected gang members died in shootouts with officers on Thursday.

Since the weekend, at least 23 people have died in clashes and two policemen have been wounded.

Gang-related violence has plagued Rio for decades, but is mostly centered on the city’s slums, known as favelas. But now it’s spilling onto the wealthier parts of town as drug traffickers are fighting back against police operations aimed at pacifying the slums.

“This is a desperate attempt to weaken our security efforts,” said Sergio Cabral, governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

“What they want is to create panic, for society to retreat, but we will not retreat.”

The escalating violence casts more doubt on the ability of Rio authorities to get a grip on security ahead of its hosting of two of the planet’s largest sporting events, the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics two years later.

“There are groups of criminals who have been installed here for 20, 30 years, and they might not want to give up,” said Rio state public safety director Jose Beltrame.

“But we’re not giving up either. If they keep this up, we will redouble our efforts. Anyone who gets in our path will be run over.”

The police have been heavily reinforced by the Brazilian government as more than 1,000 officers were removed from desk jobs to join the operations and 300 extra motorcycle police were on patrol making up a total of 17,500 officers to fight drug gangs.



Gunmen took tourists hostage in Rio de Janeiro hotel and also in Manila

Rio de Janeiro / Manila

August 24th 2010

Gunmen took tourists as hostage in Rio de Janeiro Hotel while trying to escape from chasing policemen.

The incident took place when 60 drug gangs member were intercepted by the police while they were returning from a party early Sunday morning. Police started to chase these gangster. To save themselves 10 gangster went inside the InterContinental hotel and took 35 tourists as hostage.

What followed was 3 hour long gunfire battle between the police and the gangsters which ended with 1 female gang member dead and 4 police officers injured. All the hostages were released unharmed.

It was the second tourists hostage situation earlier, an ex-policemen in Manila, Philippines took 25 tourists hostage and demanded to be reinstated in the police force. Negotiations and later police attack killed the hijacker but not before he killed 10 tourists. All tourists were from Hong Kong.

This Hotel hijacking incident has raised questions over the security in Rio de Janeiro considering that since is going to host next Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Crime in the city in increasing by the day which creates security issues for the foreign tourists.


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