Rio de Janeiro's Regional Electoral Court, or TRE-RJ, decided Wednesday to solicit federal troop reinforcements during Brazil's general elections in October. The court determined that the move was necessary in order to “guarantee the normality and legitimacy of the electoral process.”
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The court's president, Carlos Eduardo da Fonseca, emphasized that the decision was taken due to the “gravity of the public security framework in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which is notorious, so much so that the federal government has decreed a (military) intervention in Rio's public security.”
The judge went on to note that the TRE has a “recent history of repeated requests for federal troops, which reinforces the very familiar scenario of social instability.”
Before submitting the request to a vote, da Fonseca asked the Federal Intervention Cabinet if it was possible for them to assure that local security forces were able to maintain the safety requirements needed to undertake the elections.
In response, the head of the military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro, General Braga Netto, said current “state security forces are not equipped to assure the order and normality of the elections.”
The request for additional federal troops was sent to the Supreme Electoral Court, which will determine if more troops will be dispatched. If approved, the TRE-RJ will be responsible for planning the deployment and action in conjunction with the federal troops already on the ground in Rio.
On Feb. 16, Brazil's federal government dispatched the army to assume full control of police and all other public security forces in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The move was in response to increased violence and drug gangs who have “virtually taken over,” according to senate-imposed Brazilian President Michel Temer. Approximately 3,200 soldiers now patrol public streets in predominantly poor, working class neighborhoods.
Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff characterized the intervention as being a means to create an enemy, which “in Brazil's case, is poor Black people who live in periphery neighborhoods...It's not white people who live in Ipanema nor in Leblon.”