By Steve Dellar  |  02-16-2018   News
Photo credit: Twitter @RodP13

In response to an ever greater security threat to its population, the Brazilian government has taken the extraordinary step of appointing an army general to oversee security in the state of Rio de Janeiro as gang violence has grown beyond any possible control.

President Michel Temer signed an emergency decree today, saying that the violence was now comparable to "a cancer".

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Brazil army ordered to take over security in violent Rio de Janeiro <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Reuters Top News (@Reuters) <a href="">16 February 2018</a></blockquote>

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“I am taking this extreme measure because the circumstances demand it.”

Rio's governor had earlier this week issued an appeal for help from the government after the annual carnival celebrations were shocked by the high levels of violence.

The Brazilian army will send in a battalion to oversee police and other security services. For Brazilians, it is a very harsh new reality.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🚨After wave of high-profile violence during Carnaval, Brazil’s Army to take over security operations for the whole state of Rio de Janeiro for the year. It’s an unprecedented move in Brazil’s democracy, &amp; a hard turn toward military force. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Shannon Sims (@shannongsims) <a href="">16 February 2018</a></blockquote>

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The leader of the operation will be General Walter Souza Braga Netto, head of the Eastern Military Command. In the past, he received widespread praise for his handling of the security for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

President Temer warned criminals that their time was now up: "The government will give tough and firm answers, taking all necessary measures to eradicate organized crime."

Official statistics from the Rio state government show an 8% increase in the murder rate last year and a whopping 26% jump since 2015.


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