Riots in Rio slum after dancer found dead

Policemen take up position next to barricades on fire. Credit: Reuters

A Rio de Janeiro slum has erupted in violence following the killing of a popular local figure, with residents starting fires and hurling home-made explosives and bottles in the city's main tourist zone.

Intense exchanges of gunfire were heard when members of an elite police moved into the Pavao-Pavaozinho slum, a few hundred yards from where Olympic swimming events are expected to take place in 2016.

A resident reacts as he is detained by police during the protests. Credit: Reuters

The body of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, 25, a dancer on a TV show for Brazil's Globo network, the nation's largest channel, was discovered in the slum yesterday. The circumstances of his death were not clear, but residents blame police.

It was the latest violence to hit one of Rio's so-called "pacified" slums - impoverished areas that were controlled by drug gangs for decades.