Eight people have been killed in an armed raid on one of Rio’s poorest communities.
Bodies were left lying in the streets after police stormed the Vila Cruzeiro favela looking for gang members.
Officers seized automatic weapons, pistols, grenades and drugs, as well as kilos of drugs.
The operation came after Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled lethal force should only be used in situations in which all other means had been exhausted – and when necessary to protect life.
Inside Rio’s favelas, a special report
Local media reported more than a dozen schools were closed after the raids, as well as family health clinics.
The crackdown was coordinated between Brazil’s highway police and the military police and was an attempt to search for criminals from another favela, Jacarezinho.
Jacarezinho is the neighbourhood where the state has launched its so-called “Integrated City” initiative that seeks to reclaim territory controlled by gangs – and also the site of a raid last year that left more than two dozen people dead.
On a visit to the favelas Sky Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsey described the gangs as “like nothing I have ever seen before”.
He said they were “much more like a militia or a terrorist organisation than any gang I have met across the world”.
The government of the right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, is overseeing a crackdown on the criminal gangs.
Police have been told to do it regardless of the dangers to innocent people who live in the favelas where the gangs operate.