Mar 26, 2018
A TV helicopter has captured images of a shootout in a Rio de Janeiro favela amid rising gang violence in the Brazilian city
SAO PAULO — A TV helicopter captured images of a shootout in a Rio de Janeiro favela Monday, amid rising gang violence in the Brazilian city.
Footage aired live by Globo TV showed several men taking cover behind a building in a marginalized area of Praca Seca, while one fired an assault weapon around a wall. The men then piled into cars, some sitting in their trunks with the hatchbacks open, and sped away.
Others fleeing on foot pointed their weapons at drivers so they would stop on a major thoroughfare and allow the caravan to pass.
It was not clear who the men were or whom they were firing at. But for several months, drug traffickers and militias — armed groups made up of current and former police officers — have been fighting for control in Praca Seca, said Ivan Blaz, a military police spokesman. Military police said in a statement that they were on the scene.
The shocking images were a window into the daily violence experienced by residents of Rio's marginalized areas. Nearly two years after the city cracked down on armed groups ahead of the 2016 Olympics, security has deteriorated dramatically. Residents told Globo TV that they heard gunfire for hours Monday morning in Praca Seca before the footage was shot. Such shootouts are common, as are the deaths of innocent bystanders felled by stray bullets.
The situation has become so critical that the federal government put the military in charge of security in Rio last month, but so far there are no indications things have improved.