RIO DE JANEIRO – About 100 people demonstrated on Wednesday on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach to call for peace and to protest the deaths of 119 police officers so far this year.
The demonstrators, most of whom were relatives and friends of the dead Militarized Police officers, called for more efforts in the investigations of the deaths because the circumstances surrounding many of them have never been clarified.
Some of the protesters left manikins or dummies dressed as Militarized Police along Atlantic Avenue, which runs along Copacabana beach.
“Let it not just be a dream, by the end of the year let the number (of murders of police) be at zero ... We want to get it to zero and not get started again, for all these deaths of police not to continue because they’re men, heads of families. They have families ... (that are) destroyed,” said the relative of one of the officers killed this year.
The latest officer to be killed in the state of Rio de Janeiro was Eleonardo da Silva, who last Sunday was shot dead after being attacked by armed bandits in Volta Redonda, a town some 125 kilometers (77 miles) from the regional capital and Brazil’s second-largest city.
Of the 119 cops who have died this year, 74 were killed while off duty, 25 died on the job and 20 died after being removed from active duty due to injury or disability, but are nevertheless counted in the total.
Rio de Janeiro state is Brazil’s premier tourist destination but has been experiencing a wave of violence since it hosted the 2016 Olympics, a situation aggravated by the region’s serious economic crisis.
The violence has translated into a spike in murders among the general population this year to over 4,000 up through August, a situation that forced President Michel Temer to send some 10,000 troops to strengthen security in the region with the idea of keeping them in the city through 2018.