Brazilian army to take control of security in Rio as violence rises


Brazilian president Michel Temer has signed a decree putting the military in charge of security in Rio de Janeiro, following a rise in street crime and drug gang violence.

Massed robberies and gunfights during carnival, followed by a storm that killed four and caused chaos, have heightened a sense that the city is slipping out of control. “I am taking this extreme measure because the circumstances demand it,” Temer said after signing the decree on Friday. “Enough.” The army has operated in Rio during the last year and did so during the Olympics and the World Cup. But Temer’s decree will also put the army in charge of the city’s police force – the first time Brazil has taken such a decision since it introduced a new constitution in 1988 following two decades of military dictatorship.It takes immediate effect, though a vote in Congress could overturn it, and lasts until the end of the year. Security in Brazil is normally under the control of individual states. It will now be run by General Walter Braga Netto, who helped coordinate security during the Olympics two years ago, local media reported.

“It is a recognition that there is serious instability in the state of Rio de Janeiro,” said Roberto Dias, a professor of constitutional law at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo. “It is very serious to suspend the autonomy of a state because the rule in a federation is autonomy.”(Theguardian)…[+]