Brasilia, May 9 (EFE).- Brazil’s far-right president congratulated the police on Sunday for last week’s raid in a favela in Rio de Janeiro that left 28 dead and sparked serious allegations of abuse by the officers.
Jair Bolsonaro refused to treat as victims the 27 suspects who were killed in the operation, and took advantage of the brutal event, in which a police inspector also died, to attack the media and left-wing political forces.
“By treating traffickers who steal, kill and destroy families as victims, the media and the Left equate them to the common, honest citizen, who respects the laws and others,” Bolsonaro said on Twitter in this first public remarks on the raid.
“It is a serious offense to the people who have long been held hostage to crime. Congratulations to the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro!” he added.
The far-right leader defends a heavy hand against crime and has said on more than one occasion that police officials who use lethal force in the line of duty must have legal cover.
Bolsonaro expressed his condolences to the family members of late inspector André Leonardo de Mello, whom he said “lost his life fighting against criminals” and “will be remembered for his courage.”
The police claim that the nine-hour-long operation in Jacarezinho favela in the north of the capital on Thursday targeted a gang of drug traffickers who recruited minors.
However, according to residents and videos posted on social media, police officials entered homes in the favela without legal authorization.
The residents alleged that officials shot those who had surrendered and seized the mobile phones of the witnesses.
The police denied allegations of abuse and stated that it acted in a planned manner and under the supervision of the District Attorney’s Office.
On Friday, Attorney General Augusto Aras asked Rio governor Claudio Castro and other authorities in the region to “clarify the circumstances” of the raid amid multiple allegations of abuse by police officials.
Judge Luiz Edson Fachin of the country’s Supreme Court even claimed to have seen signs of “arbitrary executions” in the videos he analyzed.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as other global non-profits, have condemned the operation, while the United Nations Human Rights agency has expressed concern and denounced possible attempts by the security forces to prevent an independent investigation into the incident. EFE