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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Press urges tough response to violence
One of the police stations attacked in Sao Paulo
Police stations were targeted with machine-guns and machetes

Brazilian newspapers see the weekend's violence in Sao Paulo as a direct attack on the state, posing an unprecedented challenge to the authorities.

They call on the authorities to unite against the perpetrators, and urge both state and federal governments to crack down on First Capital Command, the organised crime gang blamed for the riots.

Some commentators say the violence is akin to "terrorism" against the rule of law.

EDITORIAL IN O GLOBO

The series of criminal attacks on the police, on at least one court of law and the series of rebellions in prisons in Sao Paulo State not only constitute one of the greatest challenges the Sao Paulo authorities have faced yet in the fight against crime. They are also an act of terror against the state institutions, in which the target is the very rule of law itself... The solidarity shown by the federal government must now turn into objective - and urgent - measures. There may be those who think this wave of violence is a problem exclusive to Sao Paulo. It isn't. What is in play is the nation's capacity to respond to the threat to the country represented by this scaling up of organized crime towards terrorism.

EDITORIAL HEADLINED "BAGHDAD NIGHTS" IN FOLHA DE SAO PAULO

The State of Sao Paulo lived through a weekend that, while keeping things in proportion, brought to mind the conflagration in Iraq. Civil and military police, prison guards and even fire-fighters became generic targets in the unprecedented wave of savagery sponsored by the so-called "First Capital Command" (PCC).

JOSMAR JOZINO IN O ESTADO DE SAO PAULO

Even today [PCC] members maintain that the criminal faction was created to fight oppression and mistreatment in the prison system... The Crime Party has a 16-article statute... The document has a strong political and ideological tenor... The mobile phone has become the group's main weapon. In possession of mobiles, the prisoners hold conferences and co-ordinate, in a matter of minutes, their actions, such as the biggest simultaneous rebellions the country has seen. An old PCC promise was to become a terrorist organisation. That promise is being kept.

WALTER FANGANIELLO MAIEROVITCH IN FOLHA DE SAO PAULO

The PCC has declared war on the State of Sao Paulo... Like fundamentalist terrorist organizations and the mafia, the PCC uses attacks and then goes into hiding, lulling authorities into a false sense of security.

EDITORIAL IN FOLHA DE SAO PAULO

When the very notion of state power and the rule of law comes under violent attack, one would expect the authorities to unite in vigorous defence of these common goods. But no. "When you fail to invest in schools, you must invest in prisons," was the demagogic reaction of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the attacks and rebellions in Sao Paulo. [Election] campaign simplifications also came from the Toucans [members of PSDB opposition party, whose presidential candidate is former Governor of Sao Paulo Geraldo Alckmin] - who have run the Sao Paulo government for more than a decade - on attacking the federal government for not releasing funds to fight crime.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




SEE ALSO:
Gang violence grips Brazil state
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Brazil's mighty prison gangs
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More die in fresh Brazil violence
14 May 06 |  Americas
Seven die in Brazil prison riot
23 Mar 06 |  Americas
Latin America: Crisis behind bars
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