Luan* is 15 years old and, skinny, looks even younger. He lives in the community of Prainha, in Guarujá (SP), one of which, since July 27th, has been the target of Operation Shield. In one week, the mega-operation with 600 police in Baixada Santista killed, according to the Secretariat of Public Security, 16 people.
“There’s been a lot of shooting. In the morning, at night… We are innocent and we can take a bullet. The business is a war”, says Luan, commenting that he had never experienced anything like it. “I’m not going to school, because I can’t. And this is what we are living. Favela asks for peace”, he says.
Your neighbor, Adriano*, is 17 years old. He pointed out the tattoo and his black skin color. “I don’t owe anything, but I know I’m a target,” he says. “They (police) are coming to kill. They are not coming to play. So it’s good to stay indoors, right? Saved”.
This is also the new rule imposed at Joyce’s house, who lives in Prainha with her husband and six children. As soon as it gets dark, nobody leaves the house anymore. The boys, she reports, are taking “frames” (police raids) systematically.
This week, Joyce intervened when officers approached her 15-year-old son. “I, as a mother, manifested myself at the time. The policeman said ‘we’re doing our job’, but I’m scared, coerced”, she exposes. “What about a stray bullet? And if it goes through the walls of our houses? We are home but not guarded,” she says.
:: ‘It’s revenge’: Guarujá residents and social movements denounce executions and call for police to leave ::
In fact, even “guarded”, there is a risk. Residents of this and other militarily occupied communities – such as Sítio Conceiçãozinha and Morrinho – reported to Brasil de Fato that police are invading houses “with one foot in the door”, without a court order, wanting to know who has a criminal record. “It’s a shack, a stilt house, it’s a favela. So they are on the right. Where they want, they go”, describes Joyce.
Denunciations gathered by the Police Ombudsman and a delegation of PSOL and PT parliamentarians point out that there are, among the fatal victims, those who were murdered indoors or after being forcibly removed from there. This is the case of Flávio Sérgio Menezes Cabral, who was shot dead by Baep (Special Actions Battalion) policemen inside a house on Morro do Jabaquara last Tuesday (1).
In a note, the Secretariat of Public Security of the government of Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans) and commanded by former Rota police officer, Guilherme Derrite, referred to those murdered as “suspects”. And he announced that “all occurrences with death during the operation were the result of the action of criminals, who opted for confrontation”.
Cauê, a 16-year-old resident of the Conceiçãozinha community, does not agree with this version. “It’s a lie,” he states categorically. “Who is crazy to exchange fire with Rota? Who is crazy? In the middle of a mega-operation yet? Speak to us”.
:: Massacre of Guarujá: black movement accuses the State of committing ‘summary executions’ ::
Alexandre*, 23 years old, took a picture this week and says he was threatened. “They made it very clear: ‘if we catch you during the night, at dawn, we’ll pass, we’ll kill you’. They said the saying they always say: ‘the mother makes, the Route kills’. That’s what they tell us,” he says.
“They want revenge, understand?” says Alexandre. Operation Shield, which until last Friday (4th) arrested 128 people, was launched in response to the death of soldier Patrick Reis, from Rota (Rondas Ostensivas Tobias de Aguiar), last Thursday (27th). “But the community is not to blame for anything, bro. Those who suffer are the residents”, points out Alexandre.
Although the São Paulo government claims to have arrested the perpetrators of the shots that killed the Rota police officer, the forecast is that the operation will last at least 30 days.
“Instead of us burying our mothers, our mothers are burying the young. It can’t be like that, no”, is indignant Alexandre: “Population asks for peace for all communities”.
*Names have been changed to preserve fonts.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho