Anti-violence campaigners in Brazil have planted a field of red roses on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach in a protest against soaring crime.
“Where are our missing?” reads one banner, amid what has been dubbed a “death garden” of 3,000 roses, one for every ten people killed by violent crime in the state over the past four years.
Campaigners from Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) say too many crimes go unpunished. “There is still too much violence, too little security, too many cases of missing people, and while some measures to improve security by the state government were positive, our police body hasn’t been reformed,” says the group’s president, Antonio Carlos Costa.
New police units have taken over slums previously controlled by drugs gangs. Even so, bystanders often get caught up in the frequent shootouts between police and traffickers or between rival gangs.
Rio de Janeiro has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America. Although the crime rate has decreased, campaigners say more needs to be done before the city stages the Olympics in five years’ time.
Rio will also stage matches in the 2014 football World Cup, including the final.