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  • "In public places, try not to use long umbrellas," says the video. "This can seem silly, but from a far distance somebody may think that it is a weapon."

    "In public places, try not to use long umbrellas," says the video. "This can seem silly, but from a far distance somebody may think that it is a weapon." | Photo: YouTube

Published 21 February 2018

"In public places, try not to use long umbrellas," recommends the video. "This can seem silly, but from a far distance somebody may think that it is a weapon."

A video advising Afro-Brazilian communities on how not to get killed during Brazil's military crackdown on drug-trafficking in poor suburbs went viral over the weekend, accumulating more than 42,000 views by Wednesday.

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"In public places, try not to use long umbrellas," recommends Spartakus Santiago during the three-minute video. "This can seem silly, but from a far distance somebody may think that it is a weapon."

He continues: "Try always to be with somebody else, especially if you are a woman, a homosexual, a trans person."

Edu Carvalho, from Favela da Rosinha, tells the camera that: "Unfortunately, us Black people are always targets for abuse and retaliation. When you go out at night, from others' perspective, you are not only Black but an outlaw and you represent a danger."

Carvalho and AD Junior, the third young Black man appearing in the video, recommend always carrying documentation, along with a fully charged phone and the receipt to prove it isn't stolen, and recording any altercations.

Yesterday, Brazil's lower chamber approved a decree authorizing the federal government to dispatch military forces to intervene in security matters in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The bill allows the Brazilian army to command police forces in the state and authorize search warrants for entire communities —a move sharply criticized by human rights groups.

Vagner Freitas, president of the Unified Workers' Central (CUT), said the people do not need a "military intervention," but a "social intervention": one that expands and improves public education, legal employment and "first jobs for youth."

Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff posted a message on her official Facebook page stating that current President Michel Temer's "regime is closing its claws against the most vulnerable Brazilians who are in most need of justice."

Rousseff noted that the "coup government initiative to promote collective search, seizure and arrest warrants is one of the worst violations of civil rights that Brazil confronts since the end of the dictatorship."

She also warned that it represents "yet another step in the deepening of the state of emergency in Brazil."

Brazil's Association of Judges for Democracy released a statement saying that the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro state represents a direct violation of the constitution.

 

Brazil has one of the highest number of homicides worldwide, with 61,619 murders reported in 2016.

According to a report released in October by the Brazilian Public Safety Forum, the number of civilians killed in police raids rose to 4,224: a 25.8 percent increase from 2015. Of those, 99.3 percent were men, 81.8 percent were between 12 and 29 years old, and 76.2 percent were Black.

In Rio de Janeiro alone, police were responsible for 8,471 homicides between 2005 and 2014. At a national level, police were responsible for more than 11,197 homicides between 2009 and 2013.


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