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O Dia | Police Sweep Militia-Dominated Protest Zone

Source: O Dia.

Rio – [Yesterday,] State judicial police from various precincts and divisions carried out an operation in Rio das Pedras, Western Zone, Rio de Janeiro. The police took advantage of the protests to conduct a sweep of the community to verify potential crimes and irregularities.

“This is the police responding to what has happened in the community. We have come to offer security and we are going to sweep the area,” said Paulo Freitas, in charge of the Defense of Delegated Services Division.

Rinaldo Ferreira de Almeida, 35, owner of the Estação Azul restaurant, on Rua Engenheiro Souza Filho Street, was detained for theft of electricity and water as well as the sale of unregulated food. At another point on the same street, police seized 30 barrels of liquified petroleum gas. Elton José Siqueira dos Santos, 27, and Hélio Bruno Siqueira dos Santos, 25, were arrested for transmitting a pirated cable TV signal. Two motorcycles without proper documentation or license plates were seized by agents of the DRFA.

At least 20 squad cars took part in the operation, which included personnel from the Consumer Protection Division, the Computer Crimes Division, the Auto Theft Division as well as the 32nd Precinct. The operation was supported by the judicial police SWAT team, CORE.

Engenheiro Sousa Filho Avenue and some surrounding streets remained blockaded. Demonstrators burned tires, trash and wood at certain points. According to the city administation, militia members took part in the protest.

“What took place was an act motivated by groups who intend to defend their interest in the transport sector. Drivers who have the right to circulate freely were terrorized and prevented from circulating,” said  Cláudio Ferraz, of the Special Coordinator for Supplemental Transport.

At least six barricades were constructed. The group of protesters demand a license for van service in Rio das Pedras. “Licenses have been granted in Gardênia, Cidade de Deus, and Recreio, but not in Rio das Pedras. Five thousand jobs were lost from one moment to the next,” said a representative of the group, identified only as Marcelo. 

Last Friday and Saturday, van drivers protested the decision of the city government. Vans are not allowed to circulate alongAyrton Senna, Américas, Ministro Ivan Lins and Armando Lombardi Avenues.

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