Hundreds protest over killing of gatha Flix, eight, allegedly shot in back by police bullet in favela
The photograph shows a smiling eight-year-old girl dressed as Wonder Woman, beaming through gap teeth and crossing her small clenched fists into an X. Shocked Brazilians shared the image of gatha Flix online after she was shot in the back in a Rio de Janeiro favela on Friday night by what residents said was a bullet from a police officers rifle. She later died in hospital.
She was the fifth young child to be killed in Rio favelas this year. Favela activists, politicians, the public defenders office and the president of Rios bar association blamed the shoot-to-kill policy of the Rio governor, Wilson Witzel. He is responsible for the murder, tweeted Guilherme Boulos, a leftist politician.
An ally of the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, Witzel was elected last year after promising a slaughter of drug gangsters. On Saturday, as hundreds demonstrated in anger in the Complexo do Alemo favela where gatha was shot, the hashtag #aculpaedowitzel (its Witzels fault) led trending topics in Brazil. Others shared cartoons showing the smiling governor wiping blood from his face.
On Sunday the favela newspaper Voz das Comunidades organised a second demonstration. Led by beeping motorbike taxis, children waved yellow balloons as a small crowd marched behind a banner reading: Stop killing us.
The demonstrators walked through the rain chanting We demand justice for gatha towards a nearby cemetery for her funeral.
This is the death of a child whose only sin in her life was being poor. Why is the state security policy an extermination policy? Luciano Bandeira, the president of Rios bar association, told O Globo newspaper. There is no remorse, no admission of fault, no will to rethink the policy to avoid other deaths like this happening.