The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Brazil:
“The Most Violent Police in the World”

Jun 29, 2020

Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

A 14-year-old boy was killed by the police recently at his home in a Rio de Janeiro slum; there were 70 bullet holes in the house.

This murder recalls the extreme and daily violence of this police force, in permanent war against the poor of the underprivileged districts of the country.

In 2019, almost 6,000 victims of police killings were identified in Brazil. This is, in proportion to its smaller population, five times more than in the United States. In 75% of the cases, the victims were black men, most often young and living in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Between 2015 and 2019, 25,000 Brazilians were killed by police in their own country.

In this country marked by the most extreme inequalities, very often the only way open to young people from the poorest neighborhoods is to join gangs or the police. The young people thus put on the front line are led to kill each other. In addition, year after year, nearly 150 police officers commit suicide.

Anti-poor violence is fueled by politicians, from the head of state, Bolsonaro, to the mayors of the largest cities. The mayor of Sao Paulo declared it openly: “The place of a bandit is not in the police station or in prison, but in the cemetery.”