Bloody Strategies

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Police raids killed at least 45 people across Brazil this week, prompting concern over the use of lethal force by authorities as they step up operations against criminal gangs, the Washington Post reported.

On Wednesday, a gunfight between police and armed assailants in Rio de Janeiro killed 10 people, including two suspected drug-trafficking kingpins. Local media said that most of the officers that participated in the raid did not wear body cameras, despite a government push to monitor law enforcement to ensure accountability and reduce abuse.

Meanwhile, 16 people died during a five-day raid this week in São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, after a police officer on patrol was shot dead.

The deaths in São Paulo sparked protests in the coastal city of Guaraja this week, while Rio state lawmakers have criticized the security strategy of the state’s government in addressing violence and organized crime.

The fatalities have triggered renewed concerns about police violence in Brazil in recent years.

Former conservative President Jair Bolsonaro, who governed from 2019 to 2022, had backed harsher tactics against criminal groups. His successor, leftist incumbent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has criticized Bolsonaro’s support of police violence.

According to the 2023 Brazil’s Annual Directory of Public Security, 6,430 people were fatally shot by the police across the country last year.

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