Sao Paulo, Brazil –

At least 22 people have been killed in the bloody aftermath of a raid carried out by military police in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.

Authorities said a shootout erupted after police were shot as they prepared to enter Vila Cruzeiro, a deprived community where leaders of an alleged criminal group were suspected of meeting.

In an official note released by its press office on Tuesday night, Rio’s military police said that although it was “necessary”, the raid could not be considered successful given the loss of life.

“It is not possible to consider an operation that resulted in death a success,” the statement said.

In an earlier press conference, Rio de Janeiro’s military police secretary, Luiz Henrique Marinho Pires, had said the operation was spurred by “criminal migration” into the neighborhood, which he says is home to drug traffickers from other states.

Following the raid, residents of Vila Cruzeiro gathered at the top of the hill where the shooting took place to search for bodies, according to local activist Raull Santiago. Schools and public health services were also closed as a result of the raid, the city’s education secretary said.

An injured man cries after being treated at the Getulio Vargas Hospital after a police raid in Vila Cruzeiro, Rio de Janeiro, on Tuesday.
Supreme Court banned anti-drug operations in favelas. The raid took place despite the fact that the Brazilian Supreme Court in June 2020 prohibited anti-drug operations in the densely populated favelas of Rio de Janeiro, except in “absolutely exceptional” circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic. The sentence was passed to prevent public health and humanitarian services from coming under further pressure.

The press office of the Getulio Vargas Hospital told Citizen Free Press that 21 people arrived at the hospital dead after the raid and another six were admitted with injuries.

Pires said the ruling against the raids had drawn suspected criminals to poor communities.

“Making this community his hideout is the result of that decision,” he said during the news conference.

2,374 deaths in police raids during 2007 and 2021

Police raids in Rio de Janeiro regularly result in a high number of fatalities, which has drawn harsh criticism from human rights defenders.

People react as victims arrive at Getulio Vargas Hospital on May 24, 2022.
A May 2022 study by researchers at Brazil’s Federal Fluminense University (UFF) found that between 2007 and 2021, police raids in Rio de Janeiro led to three mass murders—killing at least three people—per month. in disadvantaged communities.

A total of 2,374 people died during police raids in that period, according to UFF data.

Tuesday’s raid is the second deadliest of its kind in the city’s history, according to the UFF. The deadliest operation, carried out by security forces in the Jacarezinho neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, left 28 dead in May 2021, according to the university.

Categorized in: