The government of Brazil sent 3,000 troops into Rocinha, the hillside shanty town overlooking Rio de Janeiro, in an effort to drive out crime and violence in advance of the 2014 World Cup.
They encountered little resistance as they moved in at 4 a.m., The New York Times reported, despite the neighborhood's "notorious" reputation. Indeed, the move by the government, blessed with the dissonant formal name "Shock of Peace," is as much public relations as police work. Troops alone won't correct bad infrastructure and endemic poverty.
The takeover of Rocinha and the nearby Vidigal slum was as much a media event as a military operation. Hundreds of reporters followed soldiers and police through deserted, garbage-strewn streets. The authorities had announced their plans days in advance, giving gang members plenty of notice to flee.
According to TV news channel GloboNews, only one person was detained during the operation.
After years of living in fear of both gang members and the often-violent tactics of police, residents were wary of embracing the new reality.
“Let’s hope for the best, but there’s a lot more that needs to be done,” said Sergio Pimentel, a funeral director sitting outside his business watching the operation unfold.
He pointed to an alley that he said poured raw sewage on to the street whenever it rained.
“We need basic sanitation, health, education,” Mr. Pimentel said. “They have to come in with everything, not just the police.”
The "pacification" operations have been followed by the introduction of community-based police to troubled neighborhoods, as well as improvements to infrastructure, including providing electricity.
There has been real violence, however, and some of the dead have been the journalists trying to cover Brazil's ongoing war with drug gangs. The Guardian leads with a story from last Sunday's raid, this into the favela of Antares, in which a longtime TV cameraman was killed in a crossfire, after police surprised fleeing gang members and started a shootout.