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Brazilian Military Police Raid Leaves at Least 23 Dead in Rio de Janeiro Favela

HeadlineMay 26, 2022

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at least 23 people have been killed in one of the deadliest police operations in the nation’s modern history. The police raid targeted Vila Cruzeiro, one of Rio’s “favelas” — historically low-income communities that trace their origin to the legacy of slavery and the system of racial oppression in Brazil that continues to this day. Officials say military police were dispatched early Tuesday to capture leaders of a suspected drug-trafficking organization when gunfire erupted. Witnesses say police arrived shooting to kill. One resident, a 41-year-old woman, died after she was struck by a stray bullet. Derê Gomes, a professor and leader of the Federation of Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas, spoke just after the killings.

Derê Gomes: “Regardless of whether a person was involved in a crime, if it’s proven these were executions, well, no one should have been executed. There is no death penalty in Brazil, right? So I think we need to carry out a very serious and very rigorous investigation to understand how these murders took place.”

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