Brazil: Authorities must prevent bloodbath in the 'real City of God'

Amnesty International said:

“British audiences were shocked by the film City of God and its scenes of brutal violence in Rio’s favelas. Sadly for many people in Brazil this is a terrifying, daily reality.

“Unless there is immediate action to restore order, we fear a ‘bloodbath’ in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The authorities must restore order to these communities and guarantee the safety of the civilian population.”

On Sunday a group of heavily armed men from the favela Parada de Lucas occupied the favela of Vigário Geral, expelling dozens of families who they allege have links with the rival gang.

Hundreds of people have been forced to leave their homes and take refuge in surrounding communities. This includes a group of 100 sheltering in a crèche in the favela Dique. Yesterday a group of heavily armed police and drug traffickers were involved in intense gun battles in the streets around the crèche.

Amnesty International said:

“Despite their presence in the surrounding the area, it appears that the Rio policehave not attempted to regain control of either the favelas of Vigário Geral or Parada de Lucas, despite the clear threats that this situation poses to the civilian population. The reasons for this lack of action are not clear.”

Amnesty International urges the authorities to ensure that any efforts to restore order to the situation are carried out in a manner that respects the safety and human rights of the civilian population.

The gangs of Vigário Geral and Parada de Lucas have been fighting for over 20 years. Amnesty International has monitored the situation in Vigário Geral for many years. In 1993, 21 innocent civilians were killed in an attack by police officers.

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