With a President that advocates for police officers to "kill more", a Minister of Justice that helps to loosen gun ownership laws, and a large-sized city Governor that discusses firing missiles into local communities - Brazil is faced with a strong increase in police killings. With most victims amongst the more vulnerable communities, who - ironically - are often the ones who support and voted these same people into power. How does the militarisation and police killings change the daily life of Brazilians, specifically in the favelas? How to understand current developments? And what does the road ahead look like?
- Kees Koonings, Professor of Brazilian Studies at the University of Amsterdam and member of the CEDLA teaching and research staff. His research on Brazil has included work on regional economic and social development in Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia, urban politics and participatory governance in Porto Alegre, the military and democratic transition, and – currently – urban violence and insecurity in Rio de Janeiro.
- Sabine van Wechem, Dutch photographer based in Amsterdam. Focus areas of her work include documentary photography and portraits, with as central theme: people and society. Recently graduated with honors at the Fotoacademie, with the long term multi-media project “Fica Suave“, covering the life of 18-year old Thay in the Villa Cruzeiro favela of Rio de Janeiro:
- Eddu Grau, Brazilian musician, composer and producer from Rio de Janeiro, currently living in Amsterdam.
What has happened in the last two years? A brief overview of some of the current developments in Brazil.
- the then-Brazilian President Michel Temer launched a military intervention in Rio de Janeiro. For eight months, army generals replaced civilian authorities in top security posts, and soldiers and military operations became part of the day to day life in the favelas. The result: a record high number of people (1,375 fatalities: nearly one in every four people) got killed in police operations in Rio de Janeiro state during that period.
- Amongst which: the human rights activist and city councilmember, Marielle Franco, and her driver Anderson Gomes -two deaths that cause for protest and ralies until this day. Earlier this year, two former policemen got charged for these two killings.
- the current President (and former army captain) Jair Bolsonaro advocates for a carte blanche for the police, which includes “legalizing mass arrest warrants, permitting police to shoot without warning or prior engagement, and allowing minors to be tried as adults”. The President and his Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, also introduced a decree that makes it easier for “good citizens” to keep a firearm at home.
- Ten Brazilian soldiers have been arrested after their army patrol fired more than 80 shots at a car of a family on their way to a baby shower, killing the driver and injuring a passenger and a passer-by.
- The governor of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel, has pledged to “slaughter” criminals by using helicopter-borne snipers to target and kill anyone carrying a rifle, even if they are not shooting their weapons. He recently stated he would like to bomb one of local favelas with a missile.
This event is followed by the screening of the award-winning IDFA documentary “Police Killing‘, at 22:00h in the open air cinema at the square in front of Pakhuis de Zwijger. Entrance is free, but please let us know you are coming by reserving here.
About the film
On the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, a car is riddled with bullet holes, some the size of a fist. You’d think it was a gangland shooting, but these bullets were fired by the police, and the passengers were unarmed teenagers. According to the desperate mothers in this disturbing documentary, the police have their own version of the story.