RIO DE JANEIRO – Hundreds of relatives of Rio de Janeiro police officers protested on Sunday against the violence the members of the security organizations have suffered in the state and the fact that 101 officers have been murdered so far this year.
The demonstrators gathered at a monument to the Brazilians who fell in World War II, an allusion to the climate of violence that has beset the city of Rio, which is going through a severe financial crisis that has caused indices of violence to spike.
“We’re showing our repudiation for the extremely high criminality against civil society and the security agents themselves,” said Col. Adalberto Rabelo, president of the Association of Active and Inactive Military Police, who joined the protest.
Rebelo said that society must “demand of the authorities and the politicians that they examine their consciences and think about the need for harsher laws, to avoid what could be a social collapse.”
Also participating in the protest was Flavia Louzada, who founded a group that provides assistance to the widows of murdered and seriously injured police officers who can no longer work.
“We’re living in a war climate. The last barrier between society and crime is the police, but they’re not even safe,” Louzada said.
So far this year, human rights organizations say, some 3,000 violent deaths have occurred in Rio de Janeiro state, a 15 percent increase over the same period in 2016.
Among the victims, besides the 101 slain police officers, are 630 innocent people who lost their lives to bullets fired during the ongoing shootouts in the city.