THE BLOG

Rio Governor Calls Emergency Meeting as Leblon and Ipanema Suffers Night of Violent Protests

18/07/2013 17:38 BST | Updated 17/09/2013 10:12 BST

Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral has called on an emergency meeting in a bid to contain the violence as the streets of Leblon and Ipanema were last night turned into a scene from Tahrir square in Egypt as protests turned violent.

The two rich neighbourhoods have so far avoided the recent protests but had nowhere to hide as protesters displayed their anger and clashed with the Police over the continuing high costs of living, poor public services and recent heavy handed operations by the Police.

The demonstrations started of peaceful but then quickly turned ugly and left behind a trail of destruction leaving the pretty neighbourhoods of Leblon and Ipanema looking like something out of a war zone.

The sight of smashed shops, banks, newsstands, bus stops, shop windows and trails of fire and smoke was evident all over the area while some of the neighbourhood lost electric and gas power for over an hour.

It is not known what triggered the violence but the military police responded by firing rubber bullets, tear gas and used stun grenades to try and disperse the crowd on a night of intense rioting.

Its alleged that the police were also heavy handed after one of their gas bombs hit a bar forcing customers to flee and take shelter in nearby shops.

This latest incident has created a major dilemma for Sergio Cabral who's house was also a target of protestors in the run up to the World cup in June 2014 on what has to be one of the most violent nights since protests began over six weeks ago

According to police reports sixteen people were arrested including two minors. A man was allegedly caught with three mortars in his backpack and was arrested for possession of explosives.

Police reports also indicated that seven military police officers were injured during the violence, while one officer was injured when struck in the back by a homemade bomb. The number of injured protesters was not confirmed.

In a separate protest residents from the Favela da Rocinha took to the streets in protest over a missing resident.

Its alleged that Amarildo de Souza, a 43 year old father of four was approached on Sunday night by armed, uniformed police officers, was then taken away but has not been seen since.

However this protest remained peaceful and passed without any incidents of violence