Rio de Janeiro's civil and military police force have united with Brazilian military soldiers to conduct a massive, 5,580 personnel-strong operation in two favela communities, Chapadao and Pedreira, on Thursday.
The economically excluded communities, both located in the northern zone of the city, have been surrounded by the heavily armed troops who are receiving support from above via helicopter flyovers and on the ground from armored vehicles.
While military police block access routes to the favelas, the civil police, along with military personnel, search residents and their vehicles.
A total of 5,400 military soldiers, 80 military police and 100 civil police are taking place in the mega-operation.
The Eastern Military Command noted that the operation is being conducted as part of the federal military intervention of Rio de Janeiro's state security forces.
The latest military blockade of favela communities comes one week after 14-old-student Marcos Vinicius da Silva was fatally shot in the stomach during a police and military operation in the Complexo da Mare favelas. The youngster, donned in his community school uniform, was walking to class when the shooting erupted around nine o'clock in the morning local time.
At least six other people were killed during the operation, according to Agencia Brasil. Local residents described scenes of security forces firing high-powered rifles from helicopters, causing panic throughout the community.
On Feb. 16, the federal government dispatched the army to assume full control of police forces in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The move was in response to increased violence, which has "virtually taken over," according to senate-imposed President Michel Temer.
Former President Dilma Rousseff characterized the intervention as a means to create an enemy, which "in Brazil's case, is poor Black people who live in periphery neighborhoods... It's not white people who live in Ipanema nor in Leblon."
The number of massacres in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has doubled since military intervention was launched, according to a report published last month by the Intervention Observatory at Candido Mendes University.