Shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro.
Police commandos patrol the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro. Getty

Angry protests erupted in Rio De Janeiro after a boy was allegedly shot dead by police who were carrying out a raid on drug gangs.

Eduardo de Jesus Ferreira was killed at his home in the Complexo Alemao shantytown.

His mother Terezinha Maria de Jesus told G1 News that her son was at the door of their house when she witnessed a policeman shoot him.

"There was no shootout. The only shot heard was the one that killed my son. I ran out of the house and recognized an officer from the SWAT [Special Weapons and Tactics] team near Eduardo, who was lying on the ground. When I got close, he told me he would kill me too," she told Globo newspaper.

The officers involved in the drugs gang operation were suspended while the shooting is being investigated.

The boy's death comes two days after a 41-year-old woman was killed by a stray bullet that came through the wall of her house.

Rage at death

Local residents responded with anger and protests, throwing rocks and bottles at police. Nearly 300 residents of the Complexo do Alemao blocked an access road to the area on Friday, a day after the boy was killed.

Demonstrators marched through the shantytown, shouting: "Justice, justice!"

One banner read: "A son lost his mother, a mother lost her son. That's how we are surviving in the complex."

One protestor said: "Those dead are innocent. They are children and elderly people who were inside their houses, they were not in the street.

"When we go to work we can die by a stray bullet in our heads and it's over, and then? And then? Where is this (situation) going, where?"

Police responded to the demonstrators by firing stun grenades and tear gas.

Slum clearance

Brazilian police have been carrying out raids on suspected drug cartels in Rio's favelas. The programme was started to drive out armed gangs ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the Summer Olympic Games that the city will host in 2016.

Human rights activists have accused Rio's police of embarking on a policy of extermination without any intention of arresting the traffickers. "The order [to the police] is clear: to go in, to kill and to exterminate," Mauricio Campos from the Network of Communities Against Violence told the Guardian. "It is impossible to deny this."

Nanko van Buuren, a Dutch doctor who runs social projects in the Complexo do Alemao described the police operations as "against the people of the favela". "It's absurd. I have worked in favelas since 1989 and I have never seen anything like this," he said.