Photo: BRAZIL: Many Protest Disappearance of Laborer Amarildo Souza
Hundreds of Brazilians once again turned out on Sunday to protest the disappearance of laborer Amarildo Souza, about whom no word has emerged since he was arrested by police in Rio de Janeiro on July 14.
The demonstration was supported by Amnesty International and took place in the Rocinha “favela,” or shantytown, where Souza disappeared after police arrested him on suspicion of being a member of a drug trafficking gang.
The question “Where is Amarildo?” - which has become a slogan for residents of the favela - appears on dozens of posters put up in the neighborhood.
The demonstration was organized for the first Father’s Day, which is being celebrated on Sunday in Brazil, that Amarildo’s family has spent without him and to pressure the authorities to provide answers in the case.
“The person who spilled Amarildo’s blood also spilled the blood of his six children” said the wife of the worker, Elizabeth Gomes, who participated in the protest along with other members of his family.
“If they killed him, at least I want them to return the body so it can be buried,” Gomes said.
The AI representative in Brazil, Atila Roque, said that the country “cannot live under this state of emergency, in which the poorest people are treated in a different way and lack the minimum rights.”
Roque said that the case has been incorporated into the agenda of the human rights organization and noted that AI general secretary Salil Shetty, who is from India, this week visited Rio and demanded that the man’s disappearance be cleared up.
The case has resonated nationwide and the head of the Human Rights Secretariat, Maria do Rosario Nunes, urged Rio authorities to “thoroughly” investigate the case.
As the minister said this week, “the investigation must be made with the clear and concrete hypothesis that the responsibility is with the public officials.”
She also said that what “concerns” the government most is the way the police acted after the disappearance, something she says occurs “too often.”
Nunes said that “abuse and police violence is something we can’t live with any more.”