Rio's Drug Gangs Surrounded During Weeklong Gunbattle

Brazilian security forces for the last week have been battling Rio de Janeiro's notorious drug gangs and have issued an ultimatum for gang members holed up in the Alemao favela to surrender. At least 35 people have died so far.

Heavily armed gang members have torched over a hundred cars and set up roadblocks in a week of violence that has left at least 35 people dead and hundreds more injured. The AP interviewed "Jogador," a gang leader who warned that Rio was on the verge of even more violence if the police continued their pursuit:

You take any animal and put it up against the wall," he says, eyes ablaze, pointing the tip of his Swiss-made weapon toward a whitewashed ledge pocked by bullets. "Its last option is what? To attack."

Officials in Brazil have said the latest crackdown is intended to clear the city of drug gangs before the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. One NGO has highlighted civilian deaths and has denounced Rio's heavy handed government and security forces for creating an "urban Vietnam" in the city. At least 200 alleged gang members have been arrested in the raids, which have taken place in roughly 20 favelas around the city.

Here's a good Al Jazeera report on the latest round of violence:

[Image via AP]