UN to probe bloody Brazil raid

Credit to Author: Agence France-Presse| Date: Sat, 08 May 2021 16:15:38 +0000

RIO DE JANEIRO: Police in Brazil faced outraged protests and a United Nations call for an investigation on Friday after a raid on a Rio de Janeiro favela left 28 people dead — some reportedly killed in cold blood.

“Stop killing us!” said hundreds of protesters from the impoverished neighborhood of Jacarezinho, who marched outside police headquarters accusing officers of perpetrating a “massacre.” “This is one of the most barbaric acts in the history of the Rio police,” student Roger Denis told Agence France-Presse.

It was one of several protests against Thursday’s police operation, which rights groups said was the deadliest ever in a city all too used to violence and police killings — particularly in the poor, majority-black favelas or slums.

Police said the operation targeted a drug gang that was recruiting children and teenagers. It turned the northern neighborhood into a war zone Thursday morning, leaving streets strewn with bodies and pools of blood.

The initial death toll of 25 — one policeman shot in the head and 24 “criminals” — was raised to 28 on Friday, following a funeral for the officer, with a cortege of some 300 police cars blaring their sirens in an emotional tribute.

Police now face mounting calls to prove that indeed those killed were “criminals,” as well as questions on why the suspects were killed rather than arrested.

Authorities have not released the identities of those killed. UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva his office was “deeply disturbed” by the killings.

He called for prosecutors to open an “independent, thorough and impartial investigation.” “We remind the Brazilian authorities that the use of force should be applied only when strictly necessary,” he said.

Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin ordered the federal and Rio de Janeiro state prosecutors-general to investigate two videos circulating on social media that appeared to show police killing indiscriminately.

“The events reported appear extremely serious. In one video, there is evidence of acts that, in theory, could constitute an arbitrary execution,” he wrote.