Update of Lawlessness and Violence

It’s complete chaos’: Brazilian state overwhelmed by rash of violence

Blog note: Jesus indicated that one (of many) signs of the end times or the end of the age grace would be that love for one another would grow cold. Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” This can also be interpreted that lawlessness will abound. This includes violence, murder, terrorism, shootings, knife attacks, car/van attacks, chemical attacks and other similar acts of destructive and evil behavior. Yes, these things have occurred in time past. But consider the frequency, intensity and devastation of these types of attacks and mass school shootings. They are like birth pangs in frequency and intensity. This is just one part of the CONVERGENCE or CONVERGING of signs.

It’s complete chaos’: Brazilian state overwhelmed by rash of violence

Attacks in Ceará are an early challenge for new president Jair Bolsonaro, who swept to power with tough-on-crime proposals

Anna Jean Kaiser in Rio de Janeiro. Wed 9 Jan 2019 08.00 GMT. The Guardian

Carlos Robério and his colleagues were expecting an attack on their minibus co-op in Fortaleza, north-eastern Brazil. Over the previous few nights, gang members had already destroyed one of their vehicles, and torched dozens of city buses.

But when the assault came, there was little Robério could do but watch the CCTV feed as a group of youths doused one of the co-op’s kiosks and set it on fire.

“I was desperate,” said Robério. “That’s our property – it’s how we make a living and support our families,” he said.

Authorities in the state of Ceará have been overwhelmed by more than a week of violence, which has been most intense in the capital, Fortaleza, a metropolitan region home to 4 million people.

Security forces say three rival drug gangs have come together to carry out more than 160 attacks in retaliation for a proposal to end the practice of separating gang factions inside Brazil’s prisons.

Buses, mail trucks and cars have been torched. Police stations, city government buildings and banks have been attacked with petrol bombs and explosives. On Sunday, criminals blew up a telephone exchange, leaving 12 cities without mobile service. Other explosions have damaged a freeway overpass and a bridge.

The rash of violence is an early challenge for new president Jair Bolsonaro, who swept to power with his tough-on-crime proposals, which include military takeovers of Brazilian cities and shoot-to-kill security tactics.

Police say that three suspects have been killed in shootouts and the outbreak has brought Fortaleza to a standstill: buses and taxis have stopped running, shops have closed for days and many frightened residents refuse to leave their homes.

Five hundred national guard troops have been deployed to the region. Camilo Santana, the governor of Ceará state, said on Monday that authorities have made 148 arrests in association with the attacks. At least 20 prisoners suspecting of ordering the violence have been transferred from state to federal prisons.

Despite the chaos, the government said it would not pull back on its plan to combat gang activities in prisons.

Fortaleza and other cities in Brazil’s north-east have seen homicides soar in recent years, as Brazil’s most notorious gangs, the First Capital Command (known as the PCC in Portuguese) from São Paulo and the Red Command (Comando Vermelho) from Rio de Janeiro began to encroach on the region, which they are disputing with the Fortaleza-based Guardians of the State, and also the Northern Family from Amazonas state.

The PCC and the Red Command are locked in a bitter fight to control Brazil’s drugs trade, and Fortaleza is seen as a strategic prize because it is the closest large port to Eu “We used to only see this kind of savagery on television in Rio de Janeiro. Things used to be mellow here,” said Robério, who added that the mayhem had made him want to arm himself.

“It’s complete chaos here and I feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean without a life raft,” he said.

Bolsonaro capitalized on such sentiments during the election, and proposed facilitating gun ownership and rewarding police for extra judicial killings.

“Bolsonaro promoted a war rhetoric throughout his campaign, which won’t solve Brazil’s problem with violence,” said Renato Sérgio de Lima, the president of the Brazilian Forum on Public Security.

Brazil’s security forces are already violent and killed 5,000 people in 2017, an average of 14 a day.

De Lima said Bolsonaro, and many politicians before him, tend to propose more violence instead of more effective strategies such as investing in better intelligence capabilities for police investigations and reforming the draconian prison system.

He cited promise in justice minister Sérgio Moro’s proposal to investigate gangs’ money laundering to suffocate them financially, but said that Bolsonaro’s forceful proposals make violent cities like Fortaleza a “time bomb”.

“It’s really the local police and institutions that have to put out the flames of these politicians’ warlike proposals,” he said.

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