RIO DE JANEIRO – The non-governmental organization Rio de Paz honored on Wednesday the 132 police officers killed in the line of duty so far this year in Rio de Janeiro, urging officials and society to end the violence.
“Rio de Janeiro will change only when the death of a favela (shantytown) resident and the killing of a police officer are equally repudiated by society and authorities,” Antonio Carlos Costa, founder of the human rights group, said during a rally at Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, a popular stop for tourists.
During the ceremony, which was attended by a number of relatives of officers killed since January, police uniforms were spread out with red roses on them.
“It is our hope that this stain we leave on this Rio de Janeiro postcard will be a reminder that what is happening in our society is not and cannot be considered normal,” Costa said.
The armed forces have staged operations in recent weeks in several favelas around the metro area in an effort to end a wave of violence that started after the 2016 Summer Olympics ended in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s most famous city.
President Michel Temer’s administration responded to the wave of violence by deploying 10,000 military personnel in and around the city to bolster security, with the operation expected to last until late 2018.
About 4,000 people have been murdered this year in Rio de Janeiro state, whose like-named capital is home to the majority of the region’s population, non-governmental organizations said.