RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s President Michel Temer announced on Saturday that a Public Security Ministry will be created in the coming weeks, after ordering Friday an unprecedented military intervention in Rio de Janeiro to quell the growing wave of violence in that state.
Temer met on Saturday in Rio with several authorities including state Gov. Luiz Fernando Pezao and Rio’s new chief of security, Gen. Walter Souza Braga Netto, in order to define certain details of the intervention announced on Friday.
During a brief speech, the president said the situation in Rio is “intolerable” and that the purpose of the intervention is to protect the “most vulnerable,” but gave no technical details about how control of security in Rio will be transferred to the military.
The head of state said that in a week or two, a “special ministry” will be constituted to coordinate public security nationwide, a measure that had been debated in recent weeks in the presidency to stop the violence that also occurs in other parts of Brazil.
Also present at the meeting in Rio were several of Temer’s ministers and local authorities such as the mayor of Rio and evangelical pastor Marcelo Crivella, who was elsewhere during Carnival – a festival he considers sinful – and traveled to Europe while in the city the scenes of violence went on.
The decision to order a military intervention was taken three days after the end of Carnival, the most popular festival in Brazil and particularly in Rio de Janeiro, where this year it was marked by grave acts of violence, even around the popular and well-guarded Sambadrome.
Before ordering the extreme measure, the government had already deployed, halfway through last year, some 10,000 troops to Rio de Janeiro, but with a limited scope of action that was insufficient to bring back peace to what is called “the Marvelous City.”