Another prison riot has broken in Brazil. This time, rival gangs clashed in the in the Alcaçuz State Penitentiary, in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte. The local government has confirmed at least ten deaths – but the number should increase. According to authorities, the conflict is between the São Paulo-based First Command of the Capital (PCC) and the local Crime Union.
Alcaçuz, the state’s largest prison, has the space to house 620 inmates. Instead, there are 1,083 of them.
The riot broke around 4:30 pm (local time) when members of the Crime Union invaded a cell block controlled by PCC. There are no further details, since the riot is still ongoing.
The state’s military police and the Special Operations Batallion are trying to negotiate the surrender of the prisoners.
Four riots in two weeks
Saturday’s rebellion is the fourth prison riot in Brazil since January 1st. The ten confirmed deaths push the total dead prisoner count to 103 in two weeks.
For decades, Brazil’s prison system has been on the brink of total collapse. Since the beginning of the year, the war between gangs has exposed how inhumane living conditions are.
Violence in Natal
Public safety has been an issue in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. Back in August, Natal experienced a wave of violence and attacks by criminal organizations. Over one weekend, there were 54 cases of vandalism: buses were set on fire, public buildings were shot at, and gangs even placed explosives at the entrance of a bank agency. As a result, President Michel Temer sent 1,000 army soldiers and 200 marines to the city in an effort to contain the security crisis.