Two people were killed Saturday during a counter-narcotics operation by an elite police in a Brazilian slum, angering residents who blocked a main road into the city.
The mayor’s central operations office in Rio de Janeiro reported that Brasil Avenue, which runs from the international airport downtown, was blocked for more than 20 minutes by protesters, near the Complexo da Mare favela.
Demonstrators were hurling rocks at passing vehicles, witnesses said.
An armored military police vehicle and police reinforcements were dispatched to disperse the protesters and prevent further turmoil.
The victims, both 25-year-old suspects, sustained bullet wounds and died while being transported to the hospital.
The Special Operations battalion entered in the favela after having received information that drug traffickers led by a suspect nicknamed “Soldado” were preparing to launch attacks on police units in the shantytown.
The police units were moved in to finally achieve peace in persistently crime-plagued poor neighborhoods that have long lacked even basic city services.
Brazil is also trying to burnish its international image ahead of hosting the 2014 World Cup for football and the 2016 Olympics.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]