Police Take Over Favelas: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
An estimated 100 armed gang members fled Vila Cruzeiro in the north of Rio after a 40 hour crossfire with police.
Jose Mariano Beltrame, Rio de Janeiro state's public security secretaryWe took from these people what has never been taken – their territory. It is important to seize drugs and arrest these people. But it is most important to take their territory
Television cameras captured many of the men heading towards another nearby favela, Complexo do Alemao.
Police said that 25 people have been killed since the violence started on Sunday but Brazilian media estimates the figure to be 35 or more, including a 14-year-old girl who later died in hospital.
President Luiz Inacio da Silva agreed to a request made by Rio state authorities for military support. 800 heavily armed soldiers, two air force helicopters and ten armoured vehicles were sent to the area to support police.
Sophisticated equipment such as Night vision goggles and hi-tech communication devices was also provided.
150 elite police officers entered Vila Cruzeiro, a stronghold for the Red Command drug gang after several days of gang members stopping cars and buses, robbing those inside and setting them alight, leading scenes of chaos across the city.
Approximately 96 buses and cars have been burned on major roads this week and 192 people arrested, police said.
Jose Mariano Beltrame, Rio de Janeiro state’s public security secretary, warned that attacks on vehicles were likely to continue but mentioned police are making progress in stopping gang violence.
17, 500 state police officers and 80 federal police were sent to Vila Cruzeiro to help deal with the violence.