Once again Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo (10.5 million inhabitants) is at the mercy of organized crime. A second criminal wave in two months started early today and had already killed 7 people, two of them military policemen, by mid afternoon.
Two of the victims were civilians and three others, private security guards. Three police stations and military police bases were also hit by bullets. In the first attack in mid May, more than 100 people were killed, 39 of them policemen.
Besides the killings the attackers, this time, hit the homes of three policemen as well as 10 banks and ATMs. Sixteen buses were burned and supermarkets, public buildings, car dealers and several business were also attacked in a total of 53 targets.
The two civilian killed were related to military policemen. Rita de Cassia Lorenzoni, 39, was killed with a shot to her head when she showed up at the window while her brother, Odair José Lorenzoni, a military policeman, was being executed. The other victim was the son of a former prison guard.
The attacks weren’t limited to the capital. They also occurred in Santos and Guarujá, both on the littoral of São Paulo state. In Santos, for example, a bank agency was set on fire and then ransacked. In Guarujá, two private guards were killed.
In the capital, the criminals after shooting at a supermarket left a sign saying: "Against oppression in the prisons."
The fresh attacks occurred a few hours after the arrest of one of the bosses of the PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital – First Command of the Capital) in the Greater São Paulo. The PCC was behind the first wave of attacks in May.
The PCC boss Emivaldo da Silva Santos, 30, better known as "BH", was arrested Tuesday night, July 11, in the Imigrantes highway, a road that links São Paulo to Santos. The police, however, are not saying that the attacks are linked to Santos’ arrest.
The organized crime had been targeting prison agents in the last two weeks. They killed five of them in isolated cases creating a situation of panic among those employees. Fearing for their life, many were not wearing their uniform to go to work.
As it did in May, the Brazilian federal government has offered federal troops to help the São Paulo government face the current wave of violence.
Governor Cláudio Lembo, from the opposition party PFL, has refused, however, the helping hand noting that his state has the best police force in the nation and is capable of taking care of the situation by itself.
In a note, Lembo told that he had had a long talk, this morning, about the security situation with Justice Minister, Márcio Thomaz Bastos. And announced that he and Bastos have already scheduled a "yet to be confirmed" meeting to further discuss the problem. "São Paulo and the federal government are in total unison," concluded the governor.
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