Rio 2016: A legacy of police killings and repressed protests

The Rio Olympics 2016 have seen the world come together in a celebration of sport. Team GB finished second on the medals table and Team Refugees has inspired millions around the world. But behind the spectacle and celebration of the games, the event leaves a much darker legacy for the people of Rio.

Rising numbers of killings

Olympic security operations have led to a sharp increase in the numbers of people killed by police during security operations. Over 2,600 people have been killed by police in Rio since the games were awarded to the city in 2009 – many of them were young black men.

As police operations in Rio’s favelas were stepped up in the lead up to the games we saw numbers rise significantly. Rio police killed 35 people in April, 40 in May and 49 in June - an average of more than one every single day. During the games themselves, police killed at least 8 people. Now as the Olympic party ends we must see thorough investigations achieve justice for the families of these victims.

Repression of peaceful protest

The Olympics have also seen heavy handed police action within the city of Rio, as several people were detained and police used tear gas and stun grenades to clamp down on peaceful public demonstrations in Rio on 5 and 12 August.

Several others were removed from competition areas for holding banners or wearing t-shirts with messages of protest – a violation of their right to freedom of expression.

Meanwhile, in São Paulo, police heavily cracked down on a demonstration on 5 August, resulting in more than 100 detentions, including at least 15 children.

What we will do now

Over 20,000 of you have signed a petition calling for an end to police killings in Rio. We will continue to put pressure on the authorities to make sure that all deaths are investigated thoroughly and that families receive justice. We continue to work closely with these communities as we call for an end to police violence in the city.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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