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Belo Horizonte: 15 Militiamen?

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Source:  Terra Brasil.

The Polícia Civil (PC) in Belo Horizonte (MG) reports 15 demonstrators arrested Saturday during a confrontation with the Military Police will be indicted on charges of criminal conspiracy, corruption of minors, vandalism and the forming of a private militia, the latter punishable with sentences ranging from four to eight years in jail, with no possibility of parole. “Most of them belong to paramiltary groups,” said PC officer Anderson Alcântara.

In an otherwise typical blow-by-blow of a street demonstration, as follows, the headline makes a promise the body cannot cash: An unsourced, un-fact checked factoid that would be highly signficant, if true.

The problem is that there is no proof, so far, that it is. A “militia” is mentioned in the lead and hed and never followed up on. 

It could well be that Black Bloc — a tactic, remember, and not a movement —  is being attacked with exaggerated charges, and is the “militia” referred to.

I have always suspected that the Black Bloc youth — who are far from satisfying the legal definition of a “militia” — would someday cause confusion because of their ninja costumes, also used by real paramilitaries.

The story, then, is that there is no story. Unless real paramilitaries — armed, illegal fiefdoms with such features as protection and gambling rackets and black-market services — are involved, that is

The main reason for dismissing this report as moral panic: Real miitia members  are cops and, to a lesser degree, firemen.

Police say that 37 adults, most members of the Black Bloc group, were arrested in confrontations with police. Seventeen were arrested in Liberty Square, where violence broke out after a young man pulled down his pants and showed his buttocks to the Events Battalion commander, Col. Antônio Carvalho. “This minor was detained, identified and sent off to [the local juvenile hall],”said Carvalho. “Their intention in the Square was to promote generalized physical violence.” Of the 17, nine remain in jail.

Another 20 demonstrators arrested Saturday tried to rescue the first demonstrators to be arrested as they were being taken to the building in the Public Security Integrated Areas. “There was a maneuver to approach the police  and there was a confrontation,” said Hugo e Silva, who was on duty at the precinct over the weekend. “We have images that capture the participation of each individual.” “Of these 20, six remain in custody … until investigations are concluded or a judge orders their release,” he said.

The 15 persons detained were to be exhbited to the press by police, but the event was cancelled for security reasons, given that, according toAlcântara, a group of demonstrators were standing ouside the building in the Intergrated Public Safety Region (RISP) where the press conference was to take place. The demonstrators yelled protest slogans and demanded the release of their comrades. Another group was in front of the jail facility (Ceresp) in Gameleira, likewise calling for the release of the prisoners.

A physical altercaton broke between the demonstrators at the RISP building and military police, who created an isolation zone and removed the group from the scene as demonstrators protested and cursed. Some persons complained of exessive force by police.

Mobilized against an increase in bus and rail fares in the largest cities, groups of activists have organized protests to demand a fare reduction and better-quality public services. These event eventually spread throughout Brazil in a wave of protests with tens of thousands hitting the street with an ample list of demands …