By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For the past month more than 10,000 security agents have been operating in the state of Rio de Janeiro as part of a federal security plan to combat drug and weapon traffickers. Although residents have complained about abuse of power by security forces, officials say the overall plan has been a success.
The three major operations which took place in different parts of Rio’s suburbs rendered the apprehension of 83 individuals, as well as weapons and drugs. Started on July 28th, the security plan has already cost the federal government approximately R$46.5 million, according to data from local news media.
Eastern Military Command spokesman Colonel Roberto Itamar made a positive assessment of this first month, acknowledging that it is too early for a more detailed analysis of the results and that forces are expected to remain in the area until the end of 2018.
“Mainly because the plan has a duration forecast until the end of next year. In addition, it is a national plan, which involves activities in border areas, in other states, a plan of great complexity, which cannot be evaluated yet,” Itamar told government news agency, Agencia Brasil.
For residents, however, the presence of the armed forces and police have caused tension. They say police officers have searched houses indiscriminately and in some communities a curfew has been established.
Last week more than 21,000 school children remained at home while security forces roamed through eight favela communities looking for criminals. In the community of Jacarezinho,
Rio’s Municipal Education Secretary, Cesar Benjamin, said the schools would remain closed for ‘indeterminate’ period of time due to police presence.
“The police do not want to know who is a resident, who is a child, who is a worker, who is a bad guy,” said a resident of Jacarezinho to the government news agency.