One dead as violent protests erupt in Rio

One dead as violent protests erupt in Rio
A resident gestures during a protest against the death of a man in Pavao-Pavaozinho slum, in the Copacabana neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO - One person was shot and killed as violent protests erupted Tuesday in Rio's famed Copacabana beach district following the death of a dancer allegedly at the hands of police, less than two months before the World Cup.

Two main thoroughfares were closed after angry demonstrators from a slum set ablaze barricades of tires and hurled glass bottles to protest the death of the dancer, 25, whom Brazilian media say was killed after police mistook him for a drug trafficker.

In the resulting protests, a 30-year-old man died after being shot in the head in the slum, which is just a stone's throw from Copacabana beach, media quoted city hall officials as saying.

Many in economically booming Brazil are outraged at the huge footprint of poverty here. Critics are furious that billions of dollars have been spent on World Cup infrastructure instead of public housing, roads, more aid for the poor and ending violent crime.

The protesting victim was taken to hospital but was dead on arrival, broadcaster Globo's G1 web portal quoted health authorities as saying. It was not immediately clear who shot him.

Trouble began in the early evening in the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela, which nestles above the well-heeled tourist centers of Copacabana and Ipanema, before quickly spreading, witnesses said.

"It started around 5:30 pm. There was smoke everywhere, shots in the street and people racing for their homes," said a young man living just next to the favela, or slum.

"A number of police special unit trucks have just gone up into the favela. We are stuck at home - we can't go out," he added, as helicopters flew over.

Another resident said electricity supplies had been cut in the area and the situation remained tense. G1 meanwhile reported violence had spilled over into Ipanema as some youngsters went on the rampage there, pursued by police.

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