RIO DE JANEIRO – Thousands of Brazilian soldiers have begun patrolling in Rio de Janeiro amid a spike in violence.
Increasing shootouts between drug traffickers and police, assaults and stray bullets killing bystanders have led authorities in recent weeks to acknowledge that much of the city is out of their control.
Defense Minister Raul Jungmann said Friday that more than 10,000 troops had been activated.
He said that after initial patrols they will soon start participating in operations against drug traffickers. That is a break from previous duties that were limited to patrolling, manning checkpoints and recovering caches of weapons seized during police raids.
Rio, which hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics, has several hundred slums that are controlled by drug gangs.
Public security experts say Brazil's worst recession in decades is exacerbating the situation.