Brazil riot police simulate angry crowd control in Rio

February 27, 2014

BBC, 2/26/2014

Riot police in Rio de Janeiro have undergone training in crowd control ahead of the Brazil football World Cup.

The exercise involved the military police, with 50 of them playing the part of unruly protesters.

A helicopter monitored the “march” next to Rio’s Sambadrome in order to inform the actions of agents on the ground.

After fresh violent street unrest, the Brazilian government recently announced plans to deploy up to 170,000 security personnel during the World Cup.

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Brazil World Cup stadium was structurally damaged by fire

February 18, 2014

Brian Winter – Reuters, 2/15/2014

An October fire at a Brazilian World Cup stadium caused far more damage than previously reported, according to a report by local prosecutors obtained by Reuters, raising questions about whether the stadium will be ready for the competition and why government officials have insisted the blaze was minor.

State officials overseeing construction of the still-unfinished Arena Pantanal in the western city of Cuiabá, which is among 12 Brazilian cities scheduled to host games, have long said the October 25 fire wasn’t a major cause for concern.

However, an 18-page report prepared in December by the Mato Grosso state Public Ministry, an independent judicial body similar to the district attorney’s office in the United States, warned that the blaze caused “structural damage” that “could compromise the overall stability of the construction.”

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Brazil police on trial over 1992 Carandiru jail massacre

February 18, 2014

BBC, 2/17/2014

Fifteen police have gone on trial in Brazil accused of taking part in a prison massacre at the Carandiru prison in Sao Paulo in 1992.

The trial has been split into four phases – one for each floor of the jail in which the 111 killings took place.

The latest hearing is of those accused of killing eight inmates, but their lawyers say it is impossible to verify who fired the fatal shots.

In the two previous phases of the case, 48 policemen were convicted.

The latest part began on Monday with a fresh jury and is expected to go on for about a week.

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Assault on UPP base sign of cracks in Rio’s “Pacification” Program

February 5, 2014

James Bargent – In Sight Crime, 2/4/2014

Brazil‘s military police have killed six people in response to a gang assault against a Rio de Janeiro Police Pacification Unit, as the city’s “pacification” program wavers in the face of regrouping gangs and a lack of progress in resolving social problems.

On February 2, several cars of armed men pulled up in front of the Police Pacification Unit (UPP) base in a favela in north Rio, reported Estadao. Men in one of the cars opened fire, shooting two police officers, one of which later died. Two passersby were also wounded in the assault.

In the aftermath, military police retaliated with an operation against alleged members of the Red Command drug trafficking organization, who authorities are blaming for the UPP base attack, according to Estadao.

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Violence tests Brazil ahead of World Cup

February 5, 2014

Loretta Chao & John Lyons – The Wall Street Journal, 2/4/2014

A wave of headline-grabbing violence in Brazil’s two biggest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, is reviving concerns about security during soccer’s World Cup, which begins here in June.

Among the incidents, that came to light on Tuesday: Police are investigating an armed attack Sunday on the son of São Paulo state’s law-and-order governor. Some suspect it was an assassination attempt by a criminal gang.

Elsewhere in São Paulo, which will host the cup’s opening game, at least one public bus was burned by vandals on Monday night, bringing the total number of buses burned to 30 so far this year, officials say. Social scientists say the practice is a form of protest by youth in the city’s poor slums against heavy-handed police tactics and other societal ills.

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Ahead if the 2014 World Cup, the domestic game in Brazil is in chaos with teams taking to the courts (again) to avoid relegation

January 16, 2014

James Young – The Independent, 1/15/2014

While Jerome Valcke, Sepp Blatter and football fans all over the world have been wringing their hands over the delays, accidents and sense of loosely organised chaos that surrounds Brazil’s World Cup preparations, a thought should be spared for fans of the domestic game in the country.

For the troubled build-up to the Fifa jamboree is a well-oiled machine compared to the organisation of club football in Brazil.

“This campaign is damaging football… it’s creating chaos… it could bring down the system. That’s what they want. And if that happens, then it’s over. No more Brasileirao,” said Flavio Zveiter, the president of the STJD, Brazil’s sporting court, last week.

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Deadly shootings and arson attacks hit Brazilian city after policeman killed

January 14, 2014

The Associated Press, 1/13/2014

Police in Brazil are being investigated for the possible revenge killings of at least 12 young men who were gunned down in separate incidents on the outskirts of a university town. About 30 people angrily protested over the killings, attacking commuter buses and burning at least three of them.

The wave of killings began on Sunday night and continued into early Monday in Campinas, a city of a million known as the hub of Brazil’s tech industry.

The mostly drive-by shootings of the young men occurred within about four hours of one another and came after an off-duty police officer was killed while fighting armed robbers who targeted him as he stopped at a gas station in the same region.

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Brazil tries a softer approach to crime

January 13, 2014

Loretta Chao – Wall Street Journal, 1/12/2014

Sticking her head out of a squad-car window, a young Brazilian police recruit shouts to the passengers of a car in front of her to exit their vehicle.

But she is quickly scolded by her trainer, who tells her to use a megaphone, to speak calmly, address people as “citizens” and to “say please.” “Please,” she tries again, slowly and carefully. “Citizen, exit your vehicle. Please.”

The demonstration was part of an overhaul of Rio de Janeiro’s police academy. The goal: to fix an image many have of a corrupt, violent force that is distrusted by Rio’s own residents, particularly the roughly 1.5 million living in shantytowns, called favelas.

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