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Leblon | Police Brandish Deadly Weapons?

"Video and photo show military police targeting and intimidating demonstrators. PM commander says he is in favor of firearms to control mobs."

“Video and photo show military police targeting and intimidating demonstrators. PM commander says he is in favor of firearms to control mobs.”

Source: Brasil de Fato

Rio de Janeiro military police were caught on camera wielding lethal weapons during the July 17 demonstration.

In the video, shot by Jornal A Nova Democracia, and the  photos, taken by demonstrators, it is possible to see the PMs pointing their pistols at persons.

Some officers went so far as to issue summons to journalists who were recording the event.  The protest, attended by thousands, took place in Leblon and Ipanema, in the city’s Southern Zone.

The press office of the PM said it would inspect the images, but did provide any details. After the demonstration, however, state PM Commandant Erir da Costa Filho, expressed  support for the use of lethal weapons to control demonstrations. “After what happened yesterday, we are going to reevaluate our manner of response. How can the police put down a mob with non-lethal force?” he asked, during a press conference.

This is an odd thing to say, given that other coverage of the events in Leblon and Ipanema focused on and criticized the apparent unwillingness of police to act against provocateurs who took to the field after the human rights march had concluded

Costa Filho said, “This is the police force that we have. For good or ill, it is the police force you need to provide public safety, by any means necessary,” the Commandant said.

State public safety secretary José Mariano Beltrame, meanwhile, in an attempt to defend police action, pointed out that no deaths had occurred. “We will analyze the investigation that was done, revise our planning and see where we can do better. There is room for flexibility,” he said.

The same argument was used by the Ministry of Justice to justify police action. “The police forces are making proper use of the equipment they have, with the result that there have been no deaths in any of the protests in Brazil in which police were involved.

“This does not happen in any other part of the world,” said the Ministry  of Justice operations secretary for major events. According to this official, the PM will follow the same procedures for World Youth Day, scheduled for July 23 in Rio.