Rio Cops Storm Gang Haven

Crackdown on longtime crime center
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2010 11:33 AM CST
Rio Cops Storm Gang Haven
A police officer carries a large amount of cocaine found during an operation against drug traffickers at the Complexo do Alemao slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.   (Felipe Dana)

Hundreds of Brazilian police stormed a Rio slum today in a war-zone scene aimed at reclaiming longtime gang turf ahead of the city's 2016 Olmpiad, reports the AP. Backed by helicopters and armored vehicles, the police said they quickly overran several hundred gang members and seized huge stashes of guns and drugs. "We won," said a police spokesman. "We brought freedom to the residents of Alemao."

Others, however, were more cautious. "Without any doubt we know there are gang members holed up inside this slum still and we've got to go in and take them out," said one solider. Police continued to exchange fire with gunmen, and Amnesty International knocked the tactics as overkill. Residents, however, seemed to welcome them: "This community has been so violent for so long that I never thought that I would see this day," said one. "I still have my doubts but I'm praying that peace has finally come here." (More Rio de Janeiro stories.)

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