Police replace soldiers on security duty in big Rio slum

AP News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2015 4:50 PM
Police replace soldiers on security duty in big Rio slum

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Police in Rio de Janeiro have finished replacing more than 2,000 soldiers who have been stationed in the Mare complex of shantytowns to improve security and drive out the drug gangs that ruled the slum for decades.

The replacement process started in April and the last troops withdrew Wednesday from the nearly 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) covered by shanties of Mare. About 130,000 people live there.

Soldiers moved into Mare a little over a year ago as part of the "police pacification program" that began in 2008 to secure Rio before last year's World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Shootouts have dropped since the pacification program began. But many residents complain of heavy-handed police tactics.