The Complexo da Maré, in the north of Rio de Janeiro, was put under siege by local police on Monday morning, leading to drawn-out gun battles that have left at least five suspects dead and 26 arrested.
The state’s military police closed the city’s Linha Amarela and Linha Vermelha expressways to carry out an operation to quell “the assault of one organized crime group against another.” The Complexo da Maré is largely controlled by the Comando Vermelho (CV) crime gang, but it has lost two pieces of local territory to rival organization Terceiro Comando Puro (TCP).
On Twitter, Rio de Janeiro Governor Claudio Castro hailed the police for what he called a “surgical” operation. “Today, our civil and military police stopped heavily armed drug dealers from invading another favela. (…) The criminals’ reaction was immediate and unfortunately resulted in the scenes we saw on the Linha Vermelha, which was temporarily closed to protect those passing by.”
Mr. Castro was elected as lieutenant governor in 2018, but took the office after the impeachment of Wilson Witzel in May 2021. He is running for election this weekend, with a platform largely focused on public security. Current polls suggest he leads the vote by around ten percentage points.