A major security operation involving 3000 soldiers and numerous other security personnel is ongoing in the Rio de Janeiro area as of the morning of Wednesday, February 7. The operation was launched at 05:00 (local time). Various areas of the city are being targeted by the operation - a bid to crack down on drug gangs - including the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela, where intense clashes have been reported in recent days, and the Rocinha favela. A number of roads in affected areas have been blocked, including access points to the BR-101 national highway. The suburb of Nova Iguaçu is also affected.
Airspace above the city has been restricted, although normal operations are reported at the city’s Galeão (GIG) and Santos Dumont (SDU) international airports.
Rio de Janeiro has been suffering from rising violence since 2016. Almost 500 shootings occurred in January 2018 alone in the city. This phenomenon is largely attributed to fighting between heavily armed security forces and criminal gangs in Rio's favelas. Major protests broke out on February 6 after a child was killed by a stray bullet during a police operation.
The recent deterioration of security conditions in Rio sheds light on the failure of the state's security polices - notably the ''pacification'' strategy, which involves the deployment of Police Pacification Units (Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora; UPP) - to be effective in crime-ridden areas of the city.
Individuals in Rio are advised to avoid any areas where security operations are taking place, to avoid all favelas more generally, and to adhere to any instructions issued by security forces.
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