Looting, stealing, fights, drug use, the closing of metro stations and more serious incidences: two deaths (one by gun and the other by overdose), five shot and at least two stabbed. Over the weekend, São Paulo recorded the most violent Virada Cultura since its first edition, in 2005. The crimes were concentrated between 2am and 5am yesterday (Saturday) and caused scenes of terror, like that of a young man being stabbed in the Viaduto do Chá area. In all, 28 adults were arrested, 9 adolescents were apprehended and 1,800 people had to be attended due to an excess of alcohol.
The city government and the Military Police confirmed the record violence at the Virada this year and attributed the problems to the “increase in the quantity of people willing to steal.” “People’s behavior changed. People who used to not come are coming (to the Virada) with other intentions”, said the mayor Fernando Haddad, upon commenting on the results of the first Virada of his term. “But we can’t let ourselves be intimidated. We have to go to the street.” At his side, Coronel Reinaldo Simões Rossi, the Military Police chief, said the police presence was larger than ever — 3,424 officers (350 more than last year) and 1,400 civil guard officers. “The MP have expertise in policing crowds. The behavior of the theives, however, transcends any planning”, he said.
During the day, there were complaints that the MPs weren’t reacting firmly towards the crimes. “In front of a crowd of 4 million, the uproar caused by police chasing after theives might be worse than the theft alone”, the Coronel reasoned. There were scenes of scuttling and confusion provoked by fights and looting in the early hours of the morning. Some areas were badly illuminated, like the Ramos Plaza, in front of the Teatro Municipal, and the Viaduto do Chá. Journalists from the Estado newspaper witnessed looting on the corner of Direita and Quintino Bocaiuva streets, close to the Sé Plaza. Merchants ended up closing their doors. Elsewhere, on Duque de Caxias Avenue, near the Sé Plaza, two girls fought 330 yards from a police vehicle. A little further, a young man was being beat up by four others. The police officers did nothing against the assaults.
Suplicy. On Saturday, just after the Daniela Mercury and Zimbo Trio concert, one of the victims of the violence was Senator Eduardo Suplicy. As soon as he realized his wallet had been taken, Suplicy went to the stage, beside Daniela Mercury, and made a plea that his belongings be returned. “They took his wallet with all his documentation. When he told me, I said that he should personally come to request that they be returned”, said the singer, who went on to say: “The person should return everything. If there’s money, all of it. Find a way to return it to a (police) posting.” After a few minutes, the Senator’s wallet with its documents were returned, but his cell phone didn’t show up. – Source