Rio Gets Army Help Amid Unrest As Police Occupy Slums

(BLOOMBERG)

Hundreds of Brazilian soldiers are reinforcing Rio de Janeiro police and patrolling an occupied shanty town as squads move into the city’s biggest crime stronghold.

The 800-strong Army force, including soldiers who were part of Brazil’s peacekeeping troops in Haiti, is strengthening security as criminals shoot at police and helicopters while attacks on cars and buses spread across the beachside city for a sixth day. About 300 federal police and 21,000 Rio officers are also securing the streets after dozens of vehicles have been set ablaze and 25 people died in shootings since Nov. 21.

Rio’s police force has taken back slums, or favelas, from organized crime control in the past two years as the former Brazilian capital prepares to stage the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics. A special police squad deployed 250 troops yesterday to raid the Vila Cruzeiro shanty town in northern Rio, using Navy tanks and armored cars.

“The situation will be under control in the very short term,” Justice Minister Luiz Paulo Barreto said in an interview. “What we’re seeing is a very strong reaction of criminals to federal and state government security policies.”

Rio will be ready to host the World Cup and Olympic games as security forces regain control of the city, he said.

Dozens of men carrying weapons fled by foot and motorcycles amid the shooting yesterday as Rio’s Special Police Operations Squad, or Bope, took control of Vila Cruzeiro. They headed for Complexo do Alemao, which the squad is raiding today with support from the Army.
BLOOMBERG