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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Silvia Izquierdo/AP/PA
# Brazil
Four police killed as Rio struggles to curb violence before Olympics
The host city for the 2016 games is trying to wrestle back control of the streets from violent drug gangs.

FOUR POLICE OFFICERS were killed over the weekend in and around Rio de Janeiro, highlighting the Brazilian city’s struggle to tame street violence ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

An officer from a special battalion for security at major events like the pope’s recent visit, the 2014 World Cup and forthcoming Olympics, died after being shot seven times late Sunday, according to G1 Globo news site.

Approximately 24 hours earlier, a civil police inspector was killed in the northern Baixada Fluminense suburb.

Meanwhile, in the town of Niteroi, across Rio’s famous bay, an officer was killed while returning from the carnival champions’ parade.

A fourth died in a shoot-out after a bakery robbery in the Nova Iguacu suburb.

Brazil Elections AP / Press Association Images Police patrol in the Cantagalo slum ahead of a presidential run-off election in Rio de Janeiro. AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Rio’s authorities launched what they call a pacification program in the city’s notoriously violent slums, or favelas, in 2008. The clampdown aimed to restore order to swaths of Rio ahead of the World Cup and what will be South America’s first hosting of the Olympic Games next year.

The pacification police units are deployed across 253 favelas, home to 1.5 million people, with a mandate to wrest back control of the streets from narcotics gangs.

But bloodshed, including multiple favela shootings, continues. In January, stray bullets alone killed three people in Rio.

- © AFP 2015.

Read: Protesters take to the streets of Brazil over their dwindling water supply>

Read: Football brings hope, but not much more in favelas of Rio>

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