Attempting to create safety in the city of Rio de Janeiro, additional police officers and approximately 800 soldiers have been assigned to the task. It is a step toward readiness for hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympics. It is easier to entice visitors when the threat of violence is subdued. Gang leaders, losing drug money and turf in the slums because of increased scrutiny, have ordered retaliation, resulting in at least 25 deaths, 192 arrests, and 96 burned vehicles over the past six days. Who will win the war against the state?
Recent violence aimed against police and state in the area around Paris
Three years ago, two teenagers from Villiers-Le-Bel were killed when their motorbike collided with a police car. The incident set off a riot by youths upset at the deaths. Aiming shotguns at the police officers, throwing rocks from behind buildings and above from rooftops, the police were being attacked from all sides. Over 80 injuries were reported, among them six police officers listed in critical condition. One lost an eye, and another sustained a shattered shoulder as a result of gunfire.
The frightening realization that the public is no longer hesitant to kill a policeman; firing weapons where others, including themselves, may be hurt or killed; and destroying property by burning, as in the case of the police station, indicates a loss of concern for the law.
A month ago, France saw further violence as workers opposed to a higher retirement age (from 60 to 62) blocked roads to airports around France. Store windows were smashed; riot police reacted with tear gas. They forced workers who were blocking access to fuel depots away. The economy was hit hard as work slowed down in response to the disruption. There is an indication that the government has tired of public disapproval and protests, which has resulted in the above actions and rising violence within cities.
Lessons Brazil can learn from French attempts to sedate and destroy violence and destruction during protests
The situation is indeed bleak, and the circumstances are much the same. Police, military, and officials have been unable to stop public violence and dissent in France or Brazil. At times it has been curtailed, but it is still just under the surface, ready to spring forth at any moment. The citizenry caught in the middle seems to have little faith in the government to protect them. Hoping to protect their family and property from harm, residents ignore the disruptive citizenry. Perhaps at some point, the citizenry in the middle will become vigilantes, meting their own justice on either side.
The public’s view of earning money, benefits, and rights is being attacked by the governments in both France and Brazil. Neither side feels as if there will be relief; their actions indicate desperation fueled by resolve. The plea from the public for consideration of their point of view has been answered with force and retribution. The government appears to be advocating totalitarianism. The people are definitely advocating retaliation.
Brazil faces an out-of-control ad hoc controlling source with the drug cartels. Providing other means of employment will not give the power and funds that those controlling sections of the slums have developed. Ignoring the problem for so many years, and deciding to end it so suddenly, is regarded as betrayal. This power struggle appears to be headed for civil war, where one side will dramatically lose. Rebuilding will be costly, and possibly not the desired answer.
Luciani Gomes, ‘Brazil sends military troops to violence-plagued Rio’
Katrin Bennhold, ‘ Police and Protestors Clash Near Paris’
Greg Keller, ‘France Riots Disrupt Airport Travel in Paris & Beyond’