By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – After another violent day on Tuesday in one of the most populated areas of Rio de Janeiro’s Metropolitan Region, more than 3,000 federal forces were called in on Wednesday morning to try maintain some of the city’s main highways open and safe for motorists.
On Tuesday three of these highways were closed to traffic due to clashes between police and criminals, leaving hundreds of motorists with no venue to enter the city. The closing of the major venues led Rio’s Operations Center to declare a stage of ‘attention’ in the city at around 4 pm. This is the first time the Center issues an ‘attention’ stage for roadways. The alerts are usually issued for heavy rains and threats of floods and mudslides.
“The Center of Operations of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro informs that the city is on ‘attention’ level as of 4PM today due to police occurrences in the Mare region,” read the bulletin issued by officials, adding, “The recommendation is to avoid this region. Those going to the region are advised to take the train or metro.”
On Wednesday morning with the continuing firefight some motorists trapped in Linha Vermelha, Linha Amarela and Avenida Brasil took to social media, and recorded on their cellular phones the shooting spree.
“Crossing the Red Sea was easy, I want to see you cross the Red Line (Linha Vermelha)” said a post by Paulo Mendonça referring to one of the main highways used to enter the city. Mendonça posted a video on while trapped in Linha Vermelha and trying to find safe cover on while machine guns and rifle shots were heard.
Tuesday’s clashes resulted in the death of a 13-year-old boy shot while walking to school. During the afternoon, 40 educational centers, including twenty schools, thirteen nurseries and seven child development centers did not open. This is the first week of the new school year for many children in Brazil.