This weekend, the streets of Brazil once again erupted in violent clashes between police and protesters. However, this time it's got nothing to do with anarchists and teachers in Rio being tear-gassed into submission over shitty wages and teaching conditions. Instead, residents of São Paulo's north side rampaged through their streets in anger over the killing of a teenager by one of the city's cops.
Everything started on Sunday evening after the police got a call about a car playing loud funk music on Bacurizinho Street. Officers drove to the area and parked up while 17-year-old student Douglas Rodrigues and his 13-year-old brother were walking by. As he was stepping out of the car, reportedly before Douglas had even realised they were there, 31-year-old policeman Luciano Pinheiro fatally shot the older Rodrigues brother in the chest.
According to a police statement, "Upon exiting the vehicle, for reasons that have yet to be discerned, a shot was fired by accident that hit a 17-year-old adolescent in the chest." That statement was obviously a little vague for residents, who – angry at the shooting – took to the streets on Monday to protest Rodrigues' death. As police arrived, the protests turned into riots and at least five buses, three trucks and a car were torched, many others vandalised and a few unfortunate local stores ransacked.
The protests continued into Tuesday, when another teenage boy was fatally shot by another policeman. The officer claimed the 17-year-old had been robbing a store and was armed with a revolver.
As the news began to spread, most of the shop owners in the area started to lock their doors, fearing more clashes. And they were right to worry; crowds built barricades across Roland Garros Avenue and started throwing rocks at the police, while residents hurled glass bottles from their windows at whoever was passing below – police or protesters. ￼A couple of blocks away, on Fernão Dias Highway, protesters had set fire to vehicles, blocked off the road and were battling it out with riot police.
So far, around 90 people have been arrested. The police emailed us a statement saying that Officer Pinheiro will be investigated for murder; however, the officer who shot the unnamed 17-year-old is still a free man.
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