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By Kees Koonings, Dirk Kruijt

This e-book examines the large urbanization of the world's inhabitants. all over the global "Megacities" have gotten scenes of giant deprivation, in particular within the international south. In such immense and dense social environments, complicated units of relationships hyperlink poverty and exclusion to city politics, strength family and public coverage. In those towns, neighborhood city politics and policy-making is the strategic prey of violent actors. The city terrible are faced with the problem of facing their inevitable encounters with violence. Megacities examines fresh world-wide tendencies in poverty and social exclusion, city violence and politics, and hyperlinks those to the demanding situations confronted through policy-makers and practitioners in "megacities" around the globe.

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Death squads com­ prising of off-duty and former policemen are often hired by local merchants to clear the streets of ‘undesirables’ and are responsible for killing a large number of Brazilian youths each year (Human Rights Watch/Americas Final Justice 1994; Huggins 1998). This should in no way be seen as an endorsement of the police, however. 27 Many people will tell you, for instance, that they blame Rio’s first postauthoritarian governor, Leonel Brizola, for preventing the police from rooting out the Comando Vermelho in the first place.

Beira-Mar’s men all had guns and they had keys to all of the doors in the prison, even though a thorough search had been conducted only twentyfour hours earlier. Apparently, a prison guard had been paid 40,000 reais to smuggle in the guns and make copies of the keys. 49 More significantly, the crackdown on prison-based criminal organizations broke long-standing and effective chains of command between criminal ­organization leaders on the inside and their lieutenants and foot soldiers on the outside and sparked a new round of territorial disputes for control of Rio’s favelas.

Indeed, since the transition to democracy in the early 1980s, there have been any number of programmes majority of the inhabitants of all but the most recently settled favelas in Rio now have access to running water, sewerage and electricity. This does not mean, however, that the favelas have been integrated into mainstream city life or that the distinction between the worlds of the asfalto (asphalt – indicates middle-class neighbourhoods) and the morro (hill – most favelas are built on hills) has been abolished, far from it.

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