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Amnesty Launches International Campaign Against Brazil’s Police Violence

Postcards with photographs of the armored cars popularly referred to as caveirões (big skulls), used in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by the Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE), will be part of an international campaign that will be launched in February to denounce Brazilian police violence in Rio’s favelas (shantytowns).

This is one of the mobilization strategies led by Amnesty International and other non-governmental organizations, such as Global Justice, the Network of Movements and Communities Opposed to Violence, and the Petrópolis Center for the Defense of Human Rights.

Global Justice researcher Marcelo Freixo says that debates and talks on police violence and public safety policies will also be organized in various Brazilian states.

In Freixo’s opinion, the black armored cars bearing the BOPE symbol – a skull embedded with knives – "show what their purpose is, indiscriminate killing."

He says that expressions like "Get out of the way" and "I’m here for your soul," said to be used by members of the military police elite forces riding in the "caveirões" during their raids, are still common practices "to terrorize and intimidate" the communities.

According to Márcio Jerônimo, a resident of the Manguinhos shantytown and member of the Network of Movements and Communities Opposed to Violence, the campaign plans to denounce social policies in the shantytowns, which, in his view, "have projects without signs of results."

Lieutenant-coronel Aristeu Tavares, public relations officer of the Rio military police, claims that the BOPE armored cars do not behave in a violent manner in the communities.

Agência Brasil

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  • Show Comments (7)

  • EDFLsilva

    [quote]WHERE YOU when the very guy you are protecting against police violence is a rapist, a drug addict, a dope pusher and a killer, when he took away, just for fun the life of an law abiding citizen with a wife & kids who was in the wrong place at the wrong time ?E

    YOU BUNCH OF SOB’S. WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THIS HAPPENED ???

    I really wish to see one of you having your wife raped and killed. What you are going to do? Will you patronize the “poor” killer.
    Will you be at his side or at your family’s burial? Your choice.

    Come forward and tell us what is YOUR choice? Your family or the killer???? [/quote]

    i agree with this person..

    Me, i live on a favela in brazil and i have to say… we are hostages by the criminals we are human shield for the drug dealers.
    the cops put their own life in risk to not hurt a innocent and even put ther own life in risk to save a criminal.

    SO you guys, let the good cops protect the citizens
    and please do launch a International campaign against CORRUPTION

  • Guest

    Only one omore comment…
    The prevoius poster is right (if I understand him/her correctly): Where is ‘our’, to be understood as in community allegencies? The police are not perfect in any city or country (witness the tragic killing of an innocent Brazilian in Britain recently — my contry, in fact. However, this is not the norm, not the commonplace. It is a misjugement and a tacit slander to assume that all police are nothing but killers with some extrajudicial impunity from prosecution. I note that the poster, who called to our attention the ‘murder’ of a number innocent civilians by ununiformed police, failed to appraise us of the perpetrators’ legal fate. Is this just another urban myth? I think it is obvious that the vast majority of us in Brazil feel better when the police seek out these criminals, on their own turf, and deal with them according.

  • Guest

    To Freixo and his gang with LOVE…
    WHERE YOU when the very guy you are protecting against police violence is a rapist, a drug addict, a dope pusher and a killer, when he took away, just for fun the life of an law abiding citizen with a wife & kids who was in the wrong place at the wrong time ?E

    YOU BUNCH OF SOB’S. WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THIS HAPPENED ???

    I really wish to see one of you having your wife raped and killed. What you are going to do? Will you patronize the “poor” killer.
    Will you be at his side or at your family’s burial? Your choice.

    Come forward and tell us what is YOUR choice? Your family or the killer????

  • Guest

    Reply to Comment \’Sorry….\’
    There are always elements in any force that take matters into their own hands–mainly out of frustration and a perceived sense of the inability of existing laws to properly apprehend and meet out appropriate justice to recidivists.However that may be, in my opinion to favour blatent criminals and their activities over one’s own law enforcement is foolish (no insult intened, by the way). Just as a little reminder to you, and again from my personal experience, when things go badly wrong, say someone is murdered/maimed/kidnapped etc., people do not, as a norm, call their boss, or their priest, or their grandmother, to sort the problem out for them. On that terrible and frightening day the first call is always to the police for help. In Ireland it was the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), which then was all but controlled by the British army. I say this not to patronise you, far from it, but to advise you that, despite odd occurrences to the contrary, the police are your first line of defence and support. There is a saying, and you may have heard it, in fact: ‘when a man waves a gun in the air people run away from him; except policemen and soldiers–they run towards him.
    In my opinion, you shouldn’t be so easily willing to castigate your policeforce. Castigate the gangsters instead. They deserve it.

  • Guest

    Sorry to the ex-British army officer….
    …you are out of line.

    Everone knows that brazilian polic have killed thousands and thousand of INNOCENTS CITIZENS.
    Just wake up your memory. Less than a year ago 30 citizens in one night were killed by police forces FOR NO REASON. the policemen were not even in uniform. None of the citizens had 1 knife and even less a gun. Men/women and youths were simply butchered. Policemen were not even in a mission, and not even at work.

    Another time a similar tragedy happened where several innocents were butchered.

    And you also know, but say the opposite, that
    Brazil police have an almost total impunity for the crimes they commit.

    What you say is simply WRONG and a lie.

  • Guest

    Yes, and their all lovely, peaceful, law
    From an Englishman living in Brazil: As far as I can see, the drug criminals and their ilk living on the favelas deserve very little considerating from any right minded person. The people the police target in their operations are uniformly a public menace. They openly break the law at every level for money (from simple intimidation of the weak, to gratitous murder), and they actively encourage others to do likewise. They are known to stockpile all types of armaments, fom simple handguns to automatic waepons, and are quite prepared to put these into the hands of children to further their nefarious aims. It is clear that these criminals have absolutly no respect for any form of authority whatsoever, let alone the vast majority of the law-abiding population. Personally, think the police in Rio do a very, very difficult job very professionally, and they deserve our support not our sanction. There are far too many uninformed/misinformed so-called ‘public interest preassure groups’ and NGO’s worrying about the ‘human rights’ of those groups of individuals who threw away their own humanity in favour quick cash way, way outside the legal and moral bounds of a decent community.
    As an ex-British army officer, who served in Northern Ireland, I can tell you from personal experience that all incursions to retrive targets are not undertaken in a gung-ho or overly provocative or aggressive manner — it’s simply dangerous to do so. However, the guilty parties always cried foul and complained of some form of supposed maltreatment. Investigation almost always found these accusations to be unfounded rather than justified. It is the same on the favelas in Rio, and we should not be swayed by accusations against the police–espaecially on the flimsy and somewhat pathetic evidence cited in the article.

  • Guest

    But why should police violence stops ???
    ….as long as they have almost total impunity for their crimes of innocent citizens ?

    Why should they stop when they have no risk.

    When the rule of law will be applied, corruption and impunity will be reduced.
    When the rule of law will be applied, knowing the risk of long jail terms, innocents killings by police will be sharply reduced !

    It is only question of RISK / REWARD !

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