Some 300 troops have been deployed in Fortaleza, a city located in Northern Brazil, due to violence caused by criminal gangs unhappy about a new prison measure.
Widespread looting has been reported, as well as the burning of buses, stores, and banks.
The soldiers will patrol there and the rest of the state of Ceará in an attempt to stop riots. The deployment was ordered by Brazil’s Ministry of Justice after dozens of attacks. Approximately fifty people have been arrested in connection to the riots.
The riots, which are in protest of a tough new prison measure which blocks cell phone signals and stops separating inmates according to gang allegiance.
The deployment was praised by Brazil’s newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist who sought people’s votes on a platform of more order and less crime and chaos. He even said during a campaign rally that he would welcome a return to the days of Brazil’s dictatorship. He also promised police that officers that killed criminals on duty would not be prosecuted. However, this doesn’t seem to have slowed down the riots.
He won after a second round of voting since no candidate made the cutoff during the first round of elections.
The Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, also made headlines when he led an investigation known as Operation Car Wash, which rooted out a lot of corruption. It even caused former President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who would have won the election, to be jailed.