“We Don’t Just Want Police”

“What would you do if you organized the baptism of your son, or the birthday party of your daughter, and the police banned the event a few hours before it starts? This is happening in many favelas of Rio. Because of a decree based on a Dictatorship-era law, the police now have the power to veto or simply withdraw the license of any cultural event, often at short notice, the according to criteria that they themselves can invent. In the favelas with UPPs [Union of Pacifying Police], this has generated many abuses such as arbitrary prohibition of all kinds of events, principally bailes funk.” (My translation of the video’s description)

In preparation for hosting the Olympics (2016) and the World Cup (2014), Rio de Janeiro has “pacified” many favelas in key locations (i.e. close to the Maracana soccer stadium and close to tourist hotels along the beaches). Pacifying police have established a permanent presence in these favelas to end armed drug trade. The police in these favelas, however, also have an inordinate amount of power that they do not have on “the asphalt” (formal neighborhoods). A decree based on dictatorship-era logic allows the police to ban or stop any cultural event in a pacified favela.

Meu Rio, APAFUNK, and Direito Para Quem? (“Rights For Whom?”) are petitioning to end Decree 013, which revives a dicatorship-era law in “pacified” communities of Rio.

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