RJ: Residents protest after military police murder young people in Niterói

Residents of the Santo Cristo favela, in the Fonseca neighborhood of Niterói, in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, protested after military police (MPs) murdered two young men during an operation in the community on January 5.

In the early evening of January 5, residents of the Santo Cristo favela in Niterói, in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, protested after the murder of two young people during police operations in the community. The demonstrators partially closed the Alameda São Boaventura, a road that leads to the Rio-Niterói Bridge, the main access route between the two cities. The action denounced the police violence and demanded justice for the two boys, using posters and banners.

The victims were Gabriel Machado, known as Zulu, 19, and Jeferson, 15. According to Gabriel’s sister, Jaqueline Teresa Machado, the young man was mentally disabled and at the time he was shot he was picking up cans, an occupation with which he sought his survival.

The demonstrators also raised complaints that the same policemen who were in the operation that resulted in the murder of the two young men were at the protest, in a way to intimidate the people there.

In the version of the police force, which was disproved, the police officers were attacked when they arrived in the favela. This was contested by the residents who report that the MPs had already arrived shooting.

In the operation that resulted in the death of two black and poor youths, the MPs of the 12th Battalion (Niterói) seized, according to them, a pistol, 163 bundles of marijuana, 196 ‘pins’ of cocaine, and a grenade. This is an insignificant amount even in police operations with the sole objective of “fighting drugs.”

Gabriel Machado, known as “Zulu,” was one of those killed by the MP. He was 19 years old and had mental health problems.

The police operations that take place almost weekly, especially in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, with the objective of carrying out the “war on drugs” are in fact nothing more than a trick, in which reactionary governments set supposed objectives, never achieved, (namely: to end drug trafficking and dismantle the retail drug network) that is used to promote the genocide of the black, poor, and favela dwelling population committed by the repressive forces (MP and reactionary armed forces) and fully legalized by the old Brazilian state.

Proof of this are the 1.5 tons of marijuana found in a latifundium in Mato Grosso do Sul in November 2020 and the 39kg of cocaine in the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) plane in 2019 – just two operations that gained publicity after being discovered. And the second largest seizure of war weaponry was found far from any favela. In June 2017, 60 war rifles were seized at the Galeão International Airport, coming directly from the USA, indicating two things: first, where the weapons that kill the poor people in the favelas of the country come from, and second, who profits from this “war”: the military-industrial complex of American imperialism.

This is an unofficial translation of an article published on the A Nova Democracia website on January 6.

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