Black Lives Matter in Rio, too

In Brazil, racial discrimination against darker-skinned people is rife; and the famous unequal society is especially tilted against black Brazilians, who are subjected to horrific summary executions by police in the favelas (squatter neighborhoods).

Six Black Lives Matter activists traveled to Rio to march in solidarity with Brazilians in a demonstration that commemorated the murder of eight homeless children on the steps of a church, by a death-squad whose number included off-duty policemen.

The violence has increased due to the pacification efforts ahead of the Olympics, which is par for the course for the Games. In the runup to the 1988 Seoul Olympics, poor people, including small children and disabled people, were rounded up and shipped to forced labor camps where they were subjected to routine rape and murder.

Despite slow, but gradual improvements in police violence over the course of the past two decades, even Brazilian authorities recognize still-staggering levels of lethal force by officers in Rio and other major cities.

Through May, the latest month for which state security statistics are available, 322 people died in conflicts with Rio police, an increase of 5.6 percent compared with 2015.

According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization, police over the past decade have killed more than 8,000 people in the state of Rio de Janeiro, three-quarters of whom were black males.

Black Lives Matter protest Rio police violence ahead of Olympics
[Thales Carneiro/Reuters]

(Image: Black Lives Matter protest march, Fibonacci Blue, CC-BY)