Brazilian activist Pedro Rios Leao stages a hunger strike in front of Globo TV Network on to force the media to report on police brutality during the forced eviction of the Pinheirinho slum in in Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo state on Feb. 1. (Bruno Menezes / The Epoch Times)
Brazilian Activist Exposes Unreported Killings During Pinheirinho Evictions
Pedro Rios Leao on hunger strike to protest what he calls a media cover-up
RIO DE JANEIRO—Independent cameraman and activist Pedro Rios Leao, 26, is on a hunger strike in front of the headquarters of Globo TV Network in Rio de Janeiro. Handcuffed to a fence since 6 p.m. on Sunday, ingesting only water, Leao is protesting what he says is a media cover-up of police atrocities during the recent forced eviction of the Pinheirinho community, about 60 miles from Sao Paulo.
Riot police, supported by armored vehicles and helicopters, used rubber bullets and tear gas to drive the 6,000 some residents from the Pinheirinho favela, or slum, in Sao Jose dos Campos, Jan. 22 to 25. All utilities were cut—water, gas, and telephone lines—and the area was sealed off.
In an interview with BBC Brazil, United Nations housing rights chief, Claudio Acioly, called the action a “drastic violation of the principle of adequate housing,”—a basic human right.
Leao recorded testimonies of abductions, injuries, murder, and the concealment of bodies, including a 4-year-old who died after receiving a rubber bullet in the neck.
In another case, resident David Washington Castor Furtado, 32, was shot from behind by a municipal police officer while attempting to flee with his 10-month-old son.
“He was the only injured person I could track and visit while I was in Sao José because his name was leaked. He was in the room 2-16 of the Sao Jose Municipal Hospital and according to doctors he is at risk of becoming paraplegic. Terrified, he would not talk to me because he had already received threats,” said Leao.
“I can’t bear to see children killed and do nothing. The authorities should be reported in the International Criminal Court,” says Leao, who went to the area as soon as he heard what was happening to document it, collect testimonials of residents, and publish them on the Internet.
Read more: The Epoch Times