On October 23rd, 35 buses were burned in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, causing over 35 million BRL in damages. The uprising followed a police operation that resulted in the death of the nephew of a Militia member in the western part of Rio.
According to authorities, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries caused by the incident. RioÔnibus, the company responsible for public transport in the city, has shared that this is the highest number of buses ever burned on the same day. They have also expressed concern for the citizens who rely on public transport, as replacing the vehicles may take longer than expected.
RioÔnibus wrote "There are no buses available for immediate purchase. There are around 180 days of waiting between acquisition and entry into operation. And, this Monday alone, the loss was approximately R$30 million, which is not covered by insurance companies." in a statement, "Each bus burned will no longer transport around 10,000 passengers per month."
The burning of buses is a common tactic used by militia in Brazil to respond to police operations. Between 1987 and 2018, more than 4,300 buses were burned in Brazil, resulting in the deaths of 20 people and injuring over 60. The amount of buses burned is more than the combined bus fleets of Curitiba and Salvador. Both major Brazilian cities with a population of over 1.7 million each.
In a statement, President of the National Confederacy of Transport, Clésio Andrade, wrote, "This is a type of violence that causes injuries, temporary or permanent disabilities and loss of human life, in addition to significant losses for operators and users of the system, and for the economy as a whole."
Studies have shown that 65 percent of Brazilians use public transit in state capitals. The city of Rio de Janeiro alone has 170 thousand daily commuters. The loss of infrastructure such as this is bound to increase the stress and overcrowding they face daily. Furthermore, the city hall has declared a state of alert.
Additionally, as an additional safety measure, classes in municipal schools in the western part of the city were suspended. To protect children and educators from potential complications from violent events.
These immediate actions by the city government highlight the urgency of addressing the city's security challenges. The suspension of classes also serves as a distressing reminder of the direct impacts that violence has on people's daily routines, especially the younger population.
The recent events in Rio de Janeiro underscore the deep-rooted challenges posed by the militia culture, which continues to cast a shadow over the city's social fabric and public safety. The burning of buses, leading to significant financial losses, disruption of daily life, and the suspension of essential services like education, highlights the pervasive impact of this issue.
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