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Brazil protest marks massacre anniversary

July 23, 2018
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Children protest violence against black people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 23, 2018. Activists and relatives of black youth who have been killed in Rio de Janeiro marched to demand justice, as they also marked the 25th anniversary of the "Candelaria Massacre" where eight black youths were killed by police. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Several hundred Brazilians have demonstrated to demand an end to police brutality against Afro-Brazilians and slum residents.

It comes on the 25th anniversary of what is called the “Candelaria massacre,” when police fired on homeless children and teenagers who were sleeping in front of Candelaria Church in the heart of Rio de Janeiro. Eight youths aged 11 to 19 died.

Three officers were sentenced but were later pardoned.

Acrobats led Monday’s march on stilts, wearing bloody camouflage outfits to symbolize violent tactics.

Protesters also criticized the government’s move to impose military control over policing and prisons in Rio after an especially violent Carnival season.

Jurema Werneck is Amnesty International’s executive director in Brazil. She says official data show killings by state agents have increased by 60 percent since last year.

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