The demonstration soon became hijacked by a group of masked men
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Brazilian authorities say a passenger bus has plunged 40 metres (130 feet) off a bridge in a city near Rio de Janeiro.
Firefighters say at least six people died in Wednesday’s accident. There was no word on the number of people injured, how many were aboard or how the wreck happened.
• Double murder takes place at Brazilian amateur match
• Police make one arrest, with investigation continuing
Police in northern Brazil say one man has been arrested after a referee who fatally stabbed a player during a match was decapitated by spectators who stormed the field.
Local reports said the incident, which took place on 30 June in the remote Brazilian town of Pio XII, escalated when the player, 30-year-old Josenir dos Santos, became involved in an argument with the referee, Octavio da Silva.
As the confrontation became physical and Dos Santos refused to leave the field, Da Silva allegedly produced a knife and stabbed the player, who died while being taken to hospital.
Reports said that outraged spectators responded by running on to the field and stoning Da Silva, before severing his head and sticking it on a stake in the middle of the field.
Police at the regional headquarters of Santa Ines said a 27-year-old man was arrested on 2 July, with the investigation continuing.
Police spokesman Valter Costa was quoted as saying: “We will identify and hold accountable all those involved in this incident. One crime will never justify another. Actions like this do not correspond with state law.”
Brazil faces mounting pressure to show it is a safe place for tourists before 12 cities host the 2014 World Cup and Rio de Janeiro the Olympics in 2016. The Confederations Cup in June was marked by violence as anti-government protestors angered by the amount of money being spent on the events clashed with police.
Commentary by: Gordon King
What in the world is going on? Protests and riots in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Northern Africa and now in South America! Evil and violence is spreading quickly. Society in general is becoming more intense and evil by the day. If you do not yet know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, now is the time! What we now see happening throughout the world will also come to America. We are not immune. Why do you think the Department of Homeland Security is preparing with military equipment, FEMA camps and billions of rounds of hollow point ammunition? The only difference is that the American government is much better prepared.
Brazil riots: Tens of thousands of demonstrators march through city streets in widespread anger over government corruption.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities on Monday in a growing protest that is tapping into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence and government corruption.
The marches, organized mostly through snowballing social media campaigns, blocked streets and halted traffic in more than a half-dozen cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia, where demonstrators swarmed past the Congress and Presidential Palace.
One person was killed in a spectacular fire that broke out in a fuel depot on the northern edge of Rio de Janeiro and spread to nearby homes
Six giant fuel containers at the storage site caught fire, sending giant flames up to 50 meters (165 feet) leaping into the air and columns of thick smoke far into the sky that could be seen miles away.
The victim was a 43 year-old man who worked at the site, owned by Petrogold fuel distributors. He was rushed to the hospital with 90 per cent of his body burned but died soon after, local media reported.
April 2: Suspects Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva, left, Carlos Armando Costa dos Santos, center, and Jonathan Foudakis de Souza are presented to the press at the Special Police Unit for Tourism Support after being arrested for allegedly attacking tourists in Rio de Janeiro. (AP)
Published April 02, 2013
The incidents raise new questions about security in Rio, which has won kudos for its crackdown on once-endemic drug violence in preparation for hosting next year’s football World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic games. The city also will be playing host to World Youth Day, a Roman Catholic pilgrimage that will be attended by Pope Francis and is expected to draw some 2 million people in late July.
‘The victims described everything in great detail, mostly the sexual violence’
– Police Officer Rodrigo Brant
Three men aged 20 to 22 have been taken into custody in connection to the crime, which took place over six hours starting shortly after midnight Saturday, police said. The suspects have been accused of at least one similar attack, with a young Brazilian woman having come forward to say that she too was raped by the same men in the van on March 23, police said.
“The victims described everything in great detail, mostly the sexual violence,” police officer Rodrigo Brant told the Globo TV network. “Just how they described the facts was shocking — the violence and brutality. It surprised even us, who work in security and are used to hearing such things.”
A few minutes into the ride, the suspects forced the other passengers to get out of the van and then raped the female tourist inside the moving vehicle, police said. The woman was also beaten across the face, and the man was handcuffed and beaten, at one point with a metal crowbar.
The attack drew comparisons with the fatal December beating and gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in which six men beset a 23-year-old university student and male friend after they boarded a private bus. That attack touched off a wave of protests across India demanding stronger protection for women. Officials there say tourism has dropped in the country following the attacks.
On Tuesday, Brazilian police were quick to emphasize to reporters the rarity of Saturday’s attack.
“These type of crimes committed against foreign tourists are very uncommon,” said Alexandre Braga, the police officer leading the investigation.
Officials from the local Olympic and World Cup organizing committees didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about how the attack might affect their security precautions.
Braga said the two foreigners, who were in Brazil as students, took a public transport van similar to those often used as a faster alternative to the city’s bus fleet. The pair were heading from Rio’s Copacabana beach neighborhood to the nightlife hot spot of Lapa in downtown Rio.
A few minutes into the ride, the suspects forced the other passengers to get out of the van and then raped the female tourist inside the moving vehicle, Braga said. The woman was also beaten across the face, and the man was handcuffed and beaten, at one point with a metal crowbar.
The three suspects took turns behind the wheel, driving the van to Rio’s sister city of Niteroi where they went on a spending spree with the foreigners’ credit cards.
Once they hit the limit on both cards, spending around $500 at gas stations and convenience stores, the suspects drove the pair back to Rio, where the foreigners were staying, and forced the woman to fetch another credit card, Braga said.
Although she was alone, she didn’t call the police or alert anyone, Braga said, “because the young man was still under the suspects’ control and she feared something even worse might happen to him.”
The two were ultimately dumped by the side of a highway near the city of Itaborai, some 50 kilometers from Rio. After they managed to make it to an unidentified country’s consulate, officials took the two to the special police delegation that specializes in crimes against foreigners. The young woman has returned to the U.S., while the man remains in Rio to help with the investigations, Braga said.
“The victims recognized the three without a shadow of a doubt,” Braga said.
The Brazilian woman who said she had also been raped by the suspects last month recognized media images of the alleged attackers and contacted police. Another foreigner has said she’d been robbed by one of the three suspects, police said.
Investigators are reviewing police databases to determine whether the three might have been involved in other crimes.
Two of the suspects have confessed to Saturday’s attack, while the third denies any responsibility, Braga said.
“They do not show any repentance,” he said. “They are quite indifferent, cold.”
The suspects rented the van, which seats about a dozen people and has dark tinted windows, from the vehicle’s owner, who police say is not suspected of any involvement in the crime. Though they apparently had authorization to transport passengers in Niteroi and neighboring Sao Goncalo, the suspects were not allowed to operate the van in Rio, Braga said.
“It appears they worked in transportation and sometimes engaged in crimes,” said Braga.
Many in Rio know of such van services for their precarious safety conditions and reckless driving, as well as their links to organized crime. Some vans are linked to militias largely composed of former police and firemen that control large swaths of the city’s slums and run clandestine transportation and other services. In general, tourists avoid the vans and opt for regular buses or taxis.
Foreigners are more often the targets of muggings and petty crime in Rio, with assaults a particular problem on public transit. Last year, a woman was raped on a moving bus in broad daylight in a widely publicized case, and the Rio subway has special women-only cars to help prevent such attacks.
More than 5,300 cases of sexual assault were reported in Brazil between January and June 2012, according to the country’s Health Ministry.
Public celebration creates nuisance for Brazilian city’s Jewish community, sparking complaints of immodest sights and life under curfew. Religious residents go as far as escaping to resort towns
While the Brazilian Carnival draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, in recent years it has been driving away some local residents.
Jewish residents of Rio de Janeiro, one of the main centers of celebration, have been leaving their homes and moving to a nearby resort town so as not to expose their children to immodest sights.
The traditional carnival was held in Brazil this past week, and was quite a nuisance for the 7,000 Orthodox Jews living in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Local residents say that passersby on the street were exposed, against their will, to dancers in revealing clothes which a religious person cannot tolerate.
They add that on certain hours they were forced to prevent their children from going outside, causing many families to live under curfew.
Escaping to Teresópolis
The solution they have found is scheduling their annual vacation for the carnival days, as February is one of the summer months in Brazil. As far as they are concerned, this is the only way to protect their children.
The favored destination is the nearby resort town of Teresópolis, where most members of the local Jewish community escape to.
Jewish families don’t let kids out during carnival (Photo: EPA)
Yishai Bonnie, a Bnei Akiva emissary in Rio de Janeiro, says that many families left for the serene resort town last Friday, before the start of the celebrations, and that many others joined them after Shabbat.
“The Rio Carnival is known to be very extreme,” he explains. “There are drunks on the streets, and it’s a real danger – not to mention the modesty issues.”
He adds that the carnival takes place all over Rio and cannot be avoided.
Fleeing. The Bonnies (Photo: Yishai Bonnie)
“Last year we escaped to Sao Paolo,” says Bonnie, “but this time I traveled with my wife and kids to a nearby town for several days.”
In a conversation from Teresópolis, he reports that most members of his community, “Bar Ilan-Moriah,” which includes some 1,000 Jews, traveled there too and that a kosher restaurant from Rio even opened a branch there.
This year the carnival was held at the beginning of the Jewish month of Adar, and as far as the emissary is concerned, this is an opportunity to highlight the differences between the Jewish and Brazilian celebrations.
“The Jewish people celebrate the real joy, the complete joy ahead of the redemption of Passover, a deeper joy inside one’s soul,” he says. “The Purim costumes and the carnival consumes are the exact opposite of each other.
“On Purim, our joy makes us present gifts to the poor and bring fellowmen closer – compared to the joy of the carnival, which is promiscuous and brutish.”