Cracks Show in Police Occupation of Rio Favelas

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Hundreds of military police reinforcements were sent to Complexo de Alemao, a shantytown in the north of Rio de Janeiro, after a rash of violence and corruption allegations against the Police Pacifying Units (UPP) occupying other neighborhoods.

The intervention follows allegations that members of some Rio UPPs were involved in a bribery scheme with drug gangs operating in the area. Officers are accused of accepting monthly bribes in exchange for allowing drugs and weapons to be sold in certain areas, and the commander and second-in-command have been dismissed.

Last week’s violence in the sprawling complex of favelas known as Complexo de Alemao is a setback for Brazil, where public security officials have cracked down on drug gangs and illegality in advance of upcoming international sporting events, including the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

The Alemao slums have long been dominated by the Comando Vermelho, one of Rio’s biggest drug gangs, but came under government control after security operations late last year. Military forces have been operating in the Alemao Complex since November of 2010, but were unable to suppress recent unrest in the area, which stemmed from attacks by drug gangs in neighboring slums according to Rio authorities.

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