Halt firing at favelas from helicopters, public defender asks Brazil court
(FILE) A helicopter flies past Christ the Redeemer as seen from Morro da Urca during sunset in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul. 31, 2016. EPA-EFE/Lukas Coch AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
(FILE) Members of the Military Police patrol in the Cidade de Deus (God's City) favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Nov. 20, 2016. EPA-EFE/Marcelo Sayão
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jun 20 (efe-epa) .- The Public Defender's Office of Rio de Janeiro Wednesday demanded before a state court that it prohibit the police from firing weapons from helicopters in counter-narcotics operations in Rio's shanty towns, after a police operation killed six people and injured one more on Wednesday.
Representatives of the Public Defender's Office filed an appeal to the Rio de Janeiro court, demanding a precautionary measure that prohibits such police operations, especially in the shanty towns known locally as "favelas" or other densely-populated areas.
The request was filed after several non-governmental organizations released videos of a low-flying police helicopter at the Mare favelas complex during a counter-narcotics operation that killed six suspected drug traffickers and injured an innocent teenager who was hit by a stray bullet on his way to school.
"It is unacceptable and disgusting to see a helicopter that shot at a community full of innocents," said Luke Dowdney, founder and director of non-governmental Luta Pela Paz.
Public defender for human rights Daniel Lozoya said the use of police helicopters that fire indiscriminately at densely-populated urban areas while moving at high speed is "absurdly reckless."