New fear of violence looms over World Cup
Published 30/12/2013 | 02:30
Security forces dispatched reinforcements to Rio de Janeiro's biggest shanty towns over Christmas week to try to contain an outbreak of violence that threatens to derail the city's pacification campaign ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Extra police were drafted in to Rocinha, one of Latin America's most notorious favelas (ghettos) after an officer and a resident were injured on Christmas Day, amid intensifying gun fights with drug traffickers.
The confrontations flared in the wake of the alleged torture and murder of a resident by police, and come amid a growing backlash against the landmark programme intended to end the dominance of drug gangs and militias.
Launched five years ago, the high-profile initiative involved police occupations in dozens of irregular shanty communities, with 36 special "police pacifying units" (UPP) set up before hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors descend on the city for the tournament.
But despite Rocinha's having been "pacified" in 2011, the shoot-outs have returned. Recently, two police officers and three locals were injured. (© Daily Telegraph, London)