By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Repórter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to a military police spokesman, following several days of unrest and heavy gunfire between drug gangs and police forces in the pacified Complexo Alemão favela in Northern Rio, the situation has now stabilized.
The troubles began on Sunday when police fired rubber bullets and pepper spray into a bar during a public disturbance. Residents retaliated using bottles and rocks, and in the ensuing commotion, several people were injured. The four police officers involved have been suspended pending investigation.
Tensions between police and residents intensified throughout Monday when, according to a Military Police statement, drug gangs took advantage of Sunday’s incident to stir up anti-police sentiments in the community.
By Tuesday night 1,700 officers were patrolling the area and a fierce gun battle broke out – the first to happen in the favela since its pacification in November last year.
General Adriano Pereira Júnior, Chief of the Eastern Military Command, said that armed gangs had initiated the battle in order to undermine the presence of the military in the area.
Residents have since come forward to confirm that not much has changed in the favela since the Peacekeeping forces moved in, saying that while there is less gunfire, drugs and weapons still circulate freely.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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Correction: October 31, 2011
This article was first published noting the UPP as part of the peacekeeping force, but although Alemão is pacified and has UPP Social, as a community reader clarified – there is no UPP unit in Complexo de Alemão yet.