Fabiola Ortiz – Inter Press Service, 12/05/2012
Human rights activists in Brazil mobilised Wednesday to draw attention to the fact that half a million people have been murdered in this South American country in the past 10 years.
On Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, 500,000 beans were scattered on the national flag and on 40-metre-long strips of red carpet,, in a protest organised by the local NGO Rio de Paz.
Hundreds of passersby stopped to gaze at the symbolic rivers of blood, which ran up to a wooden cross and a sign reading: “Brazil: half a million murders in 10 years. SHAME.”
“We want a structural reform and the professionalisation of the police, who are plagued with serious corruption problems,” the president of Rio de Paz, Antônio Carlos Costa, told IPS.
“We are also calling for the transformation of the penitentiary system, because inmates live in subhuman conditions, without any prospects for reintegration in society. And we want every state to set homicide reduction targets,” he added.
The organisation has held peaceful protests in large cities since 2007. This week it organised demonstrations in Brasilia, the federal capital, and São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, after the non-government Sangari Institute released a Map of Violence in Brazil, with the latest statistics.
The activist said “157 murders a day were committed between 2001 and 2010. In 2010 alone, 57,000 people were killed. We want the statistics on crimes and violent deaths to be released in a timely, transparent manner in all states” in this country of 194 million people.