Note from BW of Brazil: Well, the Military Police are at it again doing what they do best: harassing people and treating people as second-class citizens according to their skin color. There is simply no other way to describe this latest absurdity. Simply put, if this bus were filled with all white teens, or even a group a white teens and one black teen (just for accuracy), this incident most certainly wouldn’t have happened. But before we get into this latest travesty which basically amounts to Brazilian styled apartheid, we wanted to rewind the clock about two months to another incident in a suburb or Rio de Janeiro that once again reminds us that these are not isolated incidents. Now you be the judge: which of the incidents are more absurd? Or does it even matter?
In Rio suburb of São Gonçalo, young people rounded up by Military Police and forced to leave a dance, hands joined, single file, under threats, insults and raised rifles
By Marcos Romão
June 18, 2015
“I’ll take the smile off your face with a punch, you faggot!”
The collective torture of black youths in São Gonçalo who were forced to scream: “Eu amo o 7º Batalhão” (I love the 7th Battalion).
They repeated the phrase with joined hands in a human chain as they came down the hill under threats, insults and aimed rifles.
This is the message that Mamapress received via social networks, about what was happening to young people in their leisure time in the city of São Gonçalo, in the greater Rio de Janeiro region.
With 55.9% black population in a city of over one million inhabitants (2012) and in 2010 the 573º palce taking place in the national ranking and 12th place in state ranking of education, São Gonçalo despite having a monthly income per capita average monthly of 455 reais (urban and rural), as well as having a strong industrial center, offers little leisure and opportunities of leisure for youth.
News of violence generally come to us from São Gonçalo, as it happens in all cities of greater Rio. We have however reports of youth that report abuse and persecution by the police in their leisure time.
The video we received from the youth of São Gonçalo, according to our research, was made by blogger reporter Roberta Trindade, is a video that shocked us by the barbaric behavior of the police. Human lines of young girls and young boys, most in shorts and simple clothes present in affordable fun at a Baile Funk (funk dance), remind us of war scenes in which prisoners go to Guantanamo ..
Police stopped the dance. They did for some reason, as can happen anywhere in the world. Normal, they might say. What followed however is terrifying, when we hear the name-calling and threats that the young people received.
They were humiliated, forced to hold hands in a single file line with no end. Some may even have laughed at commenting to friends about the adventure with the police.
But many get angry, even hateful. It’s all very sad, very sad indeed!
We wonder, what the 7th Battalion are planting within São Gonçalo youth? What purpose does this policy of terror, humiliation and moral torture made with the threats serve?
“I’ll take that smile off your face with a punch, viado (faggot)!”
“You have to be careful when you get come down there, because if not you’ll die tomorrow, say it fuckin’ loud: I love the 7th Battalion,” are the cries that we can hear from the police.
Responses from the young people were already circulating in the networks. Responses were not about love. There were responses like these below, which concisely express the revolt of these young people. What does the governor have to say about this is the big question:
“DOZENS OF YOUTH TORTURED IN SÃO GONÇALO!”
“Unfortunately this is the harsh reality that poor black youth of São Gonçalo face daily. Torture, death and forged arrests by criminal police! Whoever sees this line, you realize that centuries after abolition (of slavery), the MP continues treating us in the favelas (slums) and peripheries, like animals, as if we were still slaves.”
“A crime against citizenship, against culture and against the dignity of our city. What happens to funk is the same that happens/happened to capoeira, with religions and with all our culture. They end the dance and ended with the rodas (de samba or samba circles). They break our sound like they broke our berimbau and drums.”
“This man who is ahead of the 7th Battalion has to be held responsible for this racist campaign that follows propagating against SG Funk. It keeps alive a real war against funk and against black youth.”
“Your weapons can torture us, hurt us and even kill us. But as one of us is free and alive the cry that will echo in our throat will be:
I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION! I HATE THE SEVENTH BATTALION!”
#PeloFimdaPolíciaMilitar (For the end of the Military Police)
Note from BW of Brazil: Now for today’s feature, realize that segregation on Rio de Janeiro’s famous beaches is a topic we’ve touched on in a number of previous posts. The topic brings to the fore issues of race, class, racial profiling, citizenship, territory, equal access/opportunity and stereotyping. For the purpose of clarity for those who aren’t aware of these issues, the following article will be discussing the infamous “arrastão”, which was used by police as a justification for stopping the would be “suspects“. An “arrastão” is when a group of persons on a beach suddenly, all at once, cause panic and mayhem by making a mad dash for the personal belongings of well-to-do beach visitors and then escaping. No one here is justifying the action (although it does suggest a serious problem of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ that no one wants to discuss) but rather we ask how one is to tackle the problem without making persons who are not responsible and have no such intent to take such action suffer the consequences.
Military Police approach bus and rounds up teenagers on their way to Rio’s south zone beaches
The adolescents were approached by the MP on buses and taken to the Centro Integrado.
By Carolina Heringer and Rafaella Barros
It was around 2:30pm yesterday (Sunday, August 23rd) when 15 young people, most from the outskirts of Rio, took turns on a bench for four seats in the outer corridor of the Centro Integrado de Atendimento à Criança e ao Adolescente (Ciaca or Integrated Center for Assistance to Children and Adolescents) in Laranjeiras, after being rounded up by the Military Police. The reason? They were going to the beaches of Rio’s south zone.
“They took ‘us’ from the bus to sit on the dirty floor and get in the van. They think ‘we’ are thieves just because ‘we’ are black,” said X., 17, a resident from Jacaré, in the north zone.
The group was taken from a bus that came to Copacabana, only one guy was white. The other 14 had the same profile: black and poor. All the young people interviewed by EXTRA were lines coming out of the north zone towards the waterfront. None of them was carrying drugs or weapons.
The Public Defender says the MP’s action is illegal.
“We ‘were’ inside the bus, we didn’t have nothing. We ‘is’ humiliated in slums and in the ‘pista’ (traffic lane)”, snapped ‘Y’., 14, who had left Morro São João, in Engenho Novo, with four colleagues.
Without eating since they were collected by the MP, in the late morning at all times the young people were asking for food. The snacks were only delivered about four hours after their going to the beach was interrupted.
Requesting anonymity, four employees of the Municipal Secretariat of Social Development at the scene said they didn’t agree with the rounding up of minors. A tutelary councilor, who also declined to be identified, didn’t contain the revolt with the situation, according to her, it has become commonplace:
“At the beginning, the criterion was to be undocumented and money for the passage. Now, it’s without any criteria. Are you poor? Come here. They only pick up who is going to the beaches of south zone. There are minors that, even with their documents are rounded up. This is segregation. Just today (Sunday) there were about 70. Yesterday (Saturday), there were 90.”
Public defense criticize the measure
After learning of the rounding up that took place yesterday, the public defender Eufrásia Souza das Virgens, who heads the Coordination for the Defense of Rights of Children and Adolescents (Cededica), was in Ciaca with fellow defender Rodrigo Azambuja. Today, they will reiterate a request made in May to the 1st Court of Childhood and Youth of the capital city, so that the MP are forbidden to approach youth in such a way.
“Police are depriving the freedom of these teenagers who have not committed any offense. This is unacceptable, something that was done during the military dictatorship,” evaluates Euphrasia.
Yesterday, an MP bus with at least 20 young people came to Ciaca at around 4pm. Seeing the news crew, however, didn’t leave the teenagers and left the location.
According to officials, about 160 young people were rounded up this weekend.
Police allege risk
When contacted, the Military Police said through a statement that “the actions took place in order to protect minors at risk or in the act of an offense.” The public defender Rodrigo Azambuja, however, challenges the official version.
“The risk is when the child is in the street or being exploited. If he is in this situation, there may be an approach, but from social work team, not the police,” Azambuja says, adding: “This (preventing teens from reaching the beaches of the south zone) is a crime, it is provided for in Article 230 Statute of Children and Adolescents, which prohibits “depriving the child or adolescent of his freedom, proceeding to his arrest without being in caught committing an infraction or there is no order written by the competent judicial authority.”
Commenting on the practice, Friar David Santos, coordinator of Educafro NGO working for social inclusion of black and poor, was also adamant:
“The black community is experiencing a period of many concerns facing the arbitrary attitude of the police. Institutional racism is becoming clearer.”
Facade of the Integrated Center for Assistance to Children and Adolescents in Orange.
What the secretariat does
When they reached Ciaca in the MP minibus, young people filled out a form with personal data and responded to questions such as whether they are drug users and where they were going. The Social Development Secretariat reported that “whoever defines the criteria or who will be taken is the MP.”
Also according to the folder, upon arrival at the Integrated Center, teenagers provide the contacts of those responsible for them and waited until they arrived at the scene.
When contact with a responsible is not immediate, the teenager is sent to the Central de Recepção Carioca, where they can stay overnight. In such cases, the Conselho Tutelar (Guardian Council) of the area where the youth lives is also summoned.
The public defender Eufrásia Souza PM action against measures.
‘You cannot take them from the streets that way. It is totally illegal’
Interview with public defender Eufrásia Souza das Virgens, coordinator of Cededica
What other steps will the Ombudsman take because of this rounding up?
Tomorrow (today) we will file a letter asking for the information of adolescents and the identification of the MPs who rounded them up and we will ask for an investigation at the police station the Child and Adolescent Victim (DCAV) for an investigation into the crime.
How do you assess this mode of operation of the MP?
It is unacceptable. They prevented these young people from having access to a recreation area of the city, which is very serious. We just want the police to comply with what is in the law. If children and adolescents are usually circulating around town, you cannot take them from the streets that way. It is totally illegal.
Rio Military Police recipe for bringing security to the beach: veto the black
By Marcos Sacramento
Earlier this year, at the height of summer, the columnist Hildegard Angel wrote a text in which it was suggested that the reduction of bus lines or charging for the entry onto the beaches of the south zone of Rio de Janeiro as a way to inhibit arrastões.
Angel’s proposal was absurd, but in practice for years the state has promoted actions to restrict access of periphery residents to the south zone beaches, as on Sunday when 15 young people were approached on a bus and rounded up by the Military Police without any charge against them.
Attempts to restrict the presence of periphery residents to the famous beaches of Rio are as commonplace as iced tea and cookies sold in the sands. The ideas in the unfortunate Hildegard Angel article are preposterous but are unprecedented.
In 1992, a wave of arrastões in Rio de Janeiro made headlines across the country and inspired alarmist headlines and editorials, with prejudiced suggestions to maintain the beaches out of the reach of the poor. One of them, the Jornal do Brasil, suggested policing and control of the bus lines that connect the north zone to the south zone, as was seen in the article notes “Arrastão Midiático e Racismo no Rio de Janeiro” (media arrastão and Racism in Rio de Janeiro), by the researcher and professor at UFMG Dalmir Francisco.
In the case that occurred last Sunday, there isn’t even justification of the so-called “wave of arrastões on the beaches.” The Military Police gave a lame explanation for the action of the police, stating in a note that they “took place in order to protect minors at risk or in the act of offense.”
Protection is to offer the kids decent housing, sanitation, schools and a comfortable public system of public transport that allows access to leisure and culture where they see fit. Approaching without reasons and infringing on the right to come and go only protects the interests of those who believe that the beaches should be manors restricted to a wealthy minority.
The comment of one of the teenagers approached epitomizes the lack of public policies to provide dignity to a youth who squeezes onto a crowded bus just to enjoy a beach. “We ‘is’ humiliated in slums and the (traffic) lane,” said the 14-year old boy.
There is good chance it does not have the slightest idea who Hildegard Angel is and her suggestion to control access of the poor to the beaches of south zone, but one thing is certain: he knows very well the meaning of segregation.
WTF did I really just read. Is Brazil even a democratic country? My heart breaks for these young people, just seeing their hands out of that bus and being chained like criminals for doing what every teen in a tropical country has done since the dawn of time. Some of the best memories from my youth was going to the beach with friends or cousins, I never even gave thought to whether I would be permitted to enter any beach because my birthright as a citizen of the nation gave me full access to all of them, luckily for me I grew up in a majority black nation. Is this really the life of black teens in Brazil, they cannot meet up, socialize and find entertainment amongst themself? Why are black teens being policed like this? How will they ever grow up to be adults with high self-esteem and self-worth when they don’t even have basic human rights.