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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Police charged with Brazil deaths
Eight Brazilian police officers have been charged with the killing of 30 people in Rio de Janeiro last week.

A total of 12 police officers were being held in connection with the deaths - one of the city's worst massacres.

Investigators believe four officers acted as gunmen while the others played supporting roles.

The 30 men, women and children were killed when gunmen drove through the city's poor suburbs, firing at random.

Government crackdown

Last Thursday's attacks began in Nova Iguacu when gunmen opened fire on a crowd at a bar.

Fifteen people were found dead in and around the bar and three more victims died of their injuries in hospital.

The assailants then went on to nearby Queimados where they killed 12 people in two separate shootings.

A .38 calibre gun - the same type used in the shootings - was reportedly found at the house of one of the suspects.

Officials suspect the murders were in revenge for the arrest of eight policemen over another killing.

Human rights groups have compared the shootings to attacks by death squads, which are said to operate in many areas of Brazil.

"It appears to be the result of state authorities cracking down on death squads that have been left for so long uninterrupted that it got to this point," Damian Platt, of Amnesty International, told news agency Associated Press.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has promised to introduce measures to tackle such violence.


SEE ALSO:
Police held over Brazil killings
04 Apr 05 |  Americas
Brazil death squad 'guns down 30'
01 Apr 05 |  Americas
Drugs violence abates in Rio slum
14 Apr 04 |  Americas
Controversial Rio raids under way
09 Mar 04 |  Americas
Rio 'worse than a war zone'
09 Sep 02 |  Americas
Country profile: Brazil
20 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


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