RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Two 14-year-olds were killed by stray bullets in Rio de Janeiro as violence and police efforts to contain it increase in the Brazilian city.
Nearly two years after it hosted the Summer Olympics, Rio is experiencing a wave of violence as drug traffickers fight for control of territory. President Michel Temer put the military in charge of security in the state earlier this year.
Shootouts remain common, and the non-governmental group Rio de Paz said Thursday that the deaths of the two teens raised to at least seven the number of children or adolescents killed by stray bullets this year.
Marcos Vinicius da Silva was shot Wednesday during a police operation in the Mare favela complex. His friends and classmates protested his death Thursday.
Guilherme Henrique Pereira Natal was also killed Wednesday by bullets fired from a passing car.
Da Silva’s funeral was accompanied by about 40 of his relatives and school friends, some of whom held the blood-stained white T-shirt he was wearing when he was killed.
“The death of children killed by stray bullets … is the most heinous face of the violence in Rio de Janeiro,” Rio de Paz president Antonio Carlos Costa said in a statement.