Sounds like the problems with violent crime in Rio de Janeiro haven’t improved too much since I was last there. Fantastic country, great city, friendly people, tasty food and a country that appears to be on track for great things but this? As bad as the violence is in the US – and yes, the world views the US as a very dangerous place – you don’t see police helicopters shot down. Pack your bullet proof vests and see the games!
Two weeks after Rio de Janeiro celebrated winning the 2016 Olympic Games, the Brazilian city was tonight bracing itself for a further night of violence after an intense gun battle erupted in one of the city’s favelas and a police helicopter was shot down, killing two officers.
The violence, intense even by Rio’s standards, began in the Morro dos Macacos, a hillside area in northern Rio. The shanty town, controlled by the Amigos dos Amigos (Friends of Friends) drug faction, one of three heavily-armed cocaine gangs that control many of Rio’s 1,000-odd slums, was reportedly invaded in the early hours of Saturday morning by members of a rival gang, the Red Command. Police say traffickers from the Red Command were attempting to seize control of the local cocaine trade.
Deafening volleys of automatic gunfire were captured on amateur video, filmed from apartment blocks surrounding the slum. One local newspaper declared it a “War in Rio” on its website.