Right-wing militias on the march
in Beef, Bible and Bullets
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Chapter 8 focuses on the growing importance of paramilitary militias, particularly in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Over the past twenty years these militias have controlled a growing number of poor neighbourhoods, and for many poorer Cariocas (residents of Rio de Janeiro) they are a cause of greater concern than the drug traffickers they were set up to combat. Their links with the police and local politicians make reform a complex challenge. Rio also highlights a broader national problem: the rise in the number of killings by police officers and growing support among police officers for the repressive public security strategies advocated by Bolsonaro. In 2018 more than twice as many police officers were elected to the Brazilian Congress as in 2014, increasing the political weight of the so-called bullet lobby in Brazilian politics. At the grass roots, substantial numbers of military police provide firm support for Bolsonaro, constituting in the words of one writer the president’s “shock troops”.

Beef, Bible and Bullets

Brazil in the age of Bolsonaro

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