Rio po­lice fire tear gas at protest over boy’s death

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Brazil­ian po­lice fired tear gas Fri­day to break up a protest in a Rio de Janeiro slum that erupted af­ter a 10-year-old boy was killed in what of­fi­cers called a shootout with drug traf­fick­ers.

Some 300 res­i­dents of the Com­plexo do Ale­mao, a sprawl­ing group of shan­ty­towns no­to­ri­ous for vi­o­lence, blocked an ac­cess road to the area af­ter the boy, Ed­uardo Je­sus Fer­reira, was killed by a gun­shot — the fourth per­son killed there in just over 24 hours.

“The po­lice do noth­ing but kill our neigh­bors!” shouted some pro­test­ers, while oth­ers chanted slo­gans against the Po­lice Paci­fi­ca­tion Unit (UPP) that has oc­cu­pied the favela, or slum, since it was sent in to wrest con­trol from drug gangs in 2010.

Wit­nesses said the march was pro­ceed­ing peace­fully when po­lice fired tear gas with­out provo­ca­tion.

The pro­test­ers re­sponded by throw­ing stones. One po­lice of­fi­cer was in­jured.

“We were forced to use non­lethal weapons to con­tain the pro­test­ers,” po­lice told AFP, with­out spec­i­fy­ing what led to the de­ci­sion.

Po­lice say Fer­reira was shot Thurs­day night when they came un­der fire from a group of “crim­i­nals” in Areal, one of the slums that make up the com­plex of 70,000 peo­ple.

But his par­ents, Terez­inha Maria de Je­sus and Ed­uardo Fer­reira, re­jected that ac­count.

“There was no shootout. The only shot heard was the one that killed my son. I ran out of the house and rec­og­nized an of­fi­cer from the SWAT team near Ed­uar- do, who was ly­ing on the ground. When I got close, he told me he would kill me too,” the boy’s mother told news­pa­per Globo.

She said her son was not in­volved in the drug trade.

The of­fi­cers in­volved have been taken off the street pending an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which will in­clude bal­lis­tics tests.

Pres­i­dent Dilma Rouss­eff ex­pressed her “sol­i­dar­ity” with the boy’s par­ents and said: “The cir­cum­stances of this death must be clar­i­fied and those re­spon­si­ble tried and pun­ished.”

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