Attacks by marauding gang members continued for third night in northeast Brazil in spite of security having been strengthened, authorities said on Thursday (March 16). Media reports showed images of public buses and building set on fire in nine cities including in Natal, the state capital of northeastern state of Grande do Norte state. The unrest began late on Monday.
Imprisoned gang leaders have stoked the unrest to protest against jail conditions and new regulations that seek to stop the criminal activity withing the state penal system.
In Natal, a garbage collection center, a supermarket and a gas station were all set ablaze, the G1 news site said.
“Never in my life have I seen something like this going on. We left for work… and we came across this. It is very sad,” Reinaldo Silva, a mason in Natal, told AFP.
And additional 220 federal police have been sent to the state. Reinforcement may climb as high as 800 in coming days, as per Justice and Security Minister Flavio Dino as he spoke with CNN.
At least 28 urban areas in the state have been hit by the disturbances this week, authorities said.
Local media have carried footage of vehicles in flames, and of police cruisers, businesses and government buildings riddled with bullets.
Leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hasn’t spoken public about the disorder.
At least two people were killed in clashes with police earlier in the week, and 67 people have been arrested, public security sources in the state told AFP.
(With inputs from agencies)
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