Violent uproar rocks Rio after killing

Police special unit officers patrol the Pavao Pavaozinho slum. Photo / AP
Police special unit officers patrol the Pavao Pavaozinho slum. Photo / AP

One person was shot and killed as violent protests erupted in Rio's famed Copacabana Beach district following the death of a dancer allegedly at the hands of police, less than two months before the World Cup.

Two main thoroughfares were closed after angry demonstrators from a slum set fire to barricades of tyres and hurled glass bottles to protest against the death of the dancer, 25, who Brazilian media say was killed after police mistook him for a drug trafficker.

In the resulting protests, a 30-year-old man died after being shot in the head in the slum, which is just a stone's throw from Copacabana Beach.

Trouble began in the early evening local time in the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela, which nestles above the well-heeled tourist centres of Copacabana and Ipanema, before quickly spreading, witnesses said.

"There was smoke everywhere, shots in the street and people racing for their homes," said a young man living just next to the favela, or slum.

"A number of police special unit trucks have just gone up into the favela.

"We are stuck at home — we can't go out," he added, as helicopters flew over.

Another resident said electricity supplies had been cut in the area and the situation remained tense.

- AFP

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