Latin America & Caribbean

Easter deaths spark Brazil protests near Rio

Brazilian soldiers in Rio, 19 April Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are concerns about security in Brazil ahead of the football World Cup

Residents of a poor neighbourhood near the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have set fire to vehicles in protest at the deaths of two people in incidents involving the police.

One of the victims was outside a church with his family on Good Friday when he was hit by a stray bullet.

He was caught up in a shootout between police and suspected drug dealers.

Amnesty International says some 2,000 people die every year in Brazil in careless and violent police actions.

Residents of the Caramujo shanty town set fire to four buses and three cars, calling for justice.

The death of 21-year-old Anderson Santos Silva as he was about to attend a special Easter ceremony angered the community, local media reported.

"The young man died trying to protect his mother and sister," said Niteroi's Catholic Church in a statement.

The second victim, identified as 17-year-old Emanoel Gomes, died on Friday night when his motorbike crashed into an armoured police vehicle in a nearby area.

There are concerns about security in Brazil ahead of the football World Cup, which will take place between 12 June and 13 July.

The city of Rio de Janeiro will also host the 2016 Olympics.

Earlier this month, nearly 3,000 soldiers and police took control of one of Rio's most dangerous shanty towns, the Mare slum complex, near the main international airport.

It had been in the hand of some of the country's most notorious and violent drug lords for decades.

Troops are expected to remain in the area until the end of the World Cup.

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