Rio police and military arrest 23 in pre-Carnival raids

February 8, 2018

Locals walk past soldiers during a surprise army operation in the City of God slum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Police and military forces took part in a series of raids two days before Rio de Janeiro kicks off its world famous Carnival celebrations. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Police and military forces arrested 23 people Wednesday in a series of raids in violence-plagued parts of Rio de Janeiro two days before the city’s famed Carnival celebrations.

Rio police said most of the arrests were made in City of God, a violent area in the west end of the city.

Security forces also staged operations in two slums that are strategic to drug traffickers — the Rocinha favela close to the posh neighborhoods of Ipanema and Leblon and the Complexo da Mare district by Rio’s international airport.

The raids came a day after three key arteries of the city were blocked by rival gangs fighting over territory.

Rio will host Brazil’s most famous Carnival bash from Friday to Tuesday.

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