By Nathan M. Walters, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite increased police presence over the weekend and a series of operations last week, residents of Niterói’s São Francisco neighborhood took to the streets yesterday to protest what they see as insufficient security forces in the area.
The peaceful march included approximately 200 participants from the upscale neighborhood and was organized after the creation of the S.O.S. Movement of São Francisco, which came together using social networks.
The protesters carried posters and slogans, demanded an increase in the 12th Battalion (Niterói), and the installation of Pacification Police Units (UPP) in communities dominated by drug trafficking.
Residents of the neighborhood believe that there was a migration of criminals from Rio to Niterói. Protesters explained area security had changed dramatically in recent months, from occasional pick-pocketing, to brazen armed robbery on the streets.
Additional police forces moved into Niterói last Thursday and carried out operations throughout Friday. According to O Globo, the increased presence resulted in nearly 20 arrest so far, and the confiscation of a wide range of contraband, including: sizable quantities of marijuana, cocaine and crack, illegal weapons, and various stolen goods.
The decision to increase security forces further, by another 100 police officers, is expected to be agreed upon this week. The increase in police forces is expected to come at a cost of R$3.4 million.
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