July 25, 2021

“We demand justice for the massacre in the Jacarezinho favela”

On Thursday morning, May 6, the inhabitants of the popular district of Jacarezinho, northern zone of Rio de Janeiro, were awakened by intense gunfire from an operation carried out by the civil police of the State of Rio de Janeiro, an operation which took place. ‘resulted in the brutal murder of 29 people: 28 inhabitants and 1 policeman.

Once again, the action of the police, supposed to fight drug traffickers who allegedly recruit children and adolescents, has been marked by the extreme use of force in defiance of the most fundamental rights.

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Police raided homes, uttered threats, committed physical violence against residents and, in at least two cases, murdered people inside their homes. Images of bloody bodies, mostly black men, lying on the floors of houses, in the alleys, in the streets, invaded social networks and made the “front page” of international media.

It is the largest massacre resulting from a police operation in Rio State. In the end, the number of deaths exceeds that of arrests: only six people were arrested.

Racist and undemocratic

Human rights organizations and residents denounce several abuses by the police, who are supposed to be guarantors of the laws and ensure the safety of residents. Several witnesses say that, during the operation, the bullets were recovered and the bodies transported by the police.

After the intervention, the police held a press conference. Commissioner Felipe Curi, head of the general specialized police department, described the 28 inhabitants killed as “Criminals” : “There are no suspects here. We only have thugs, murderers and drug dealers. What hurts us a lot is the death of our colleague ”, did he declare. The civil police of the State of Rio de Janeiro and the current Brazilian government thus clearly demonstrate their barbaric, racist and anti-democratic character.

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The operation took place despite the decision of the Supreme Federal Court, the highest body of the Brazilian judiciary. Since August 2020, the court had banned all police operations in the favelas during the pandemic except in cases “Absolutely exceptional”. Despite this decision, 2020 was sadly marked by the deaths of 947 people killed by police in the state of Rio de Janeiro. And 2021 promises to be even more violent, with an average of more than 5 killed by the police every day. These numbers make Rio de Janeiro state police the deadliest in Brazil.

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