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Cablegate: Military-Civil Police Clash Outside Sao Paulo

VZCZCXRO8462
PP RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0560 2911532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 171532Z OCT 08
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8626
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 3527
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 9768
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3280
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0783
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY 3935
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 2793
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 2527
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE PRIORITY 4225
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 8890
RUEAWJF/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SAO PAULO 000560

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC,
NSC FOR TOMASULO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2018
TAGS: PGOV PINR BR
SUBJECT: MILITARY-CIVIL POLICE CLASH OUTSIDE SAO PAULO
GOVERNOR'S PALACE

Classified By: Consul General Thomas White; Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: Striking members of the Civil Police clashed
with on-duty Military Police in a confrontation that left 25
persons wounded near the Sao Paulo Governor Serra's Palace on
10/16. The confrontation, which generated some lurid TV and
press images, reflects Civil Police frustration with Serra,
for not meeting their demands. The participation of
left-wing and union elements in the demonstration also
suggests that Serra opponents may have sought to provoke an
incident that would call into question Serra's leadership.
Right now, the ruling Workers Party (PT) candidate for Sao
Paulo Mayor, Marta Suplicy, is sinking in the polls relative
to her rival -- and strong Serra ally -- incumbent Mayor
Gilberto Kassab. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Striking members of the Civil Police clashed with
on-duty Military Police in a confrontation that left 25
persons wounded near the Sao Paulo Governor's Palace on
10/16. A Military Police Colonel was among those wounded.
The clash took place when a group of Civil Police
demonstrators, who have been on strike for a month asking for
a 15 percent raise, marched on the Governor's Palace and
demanded to be received. When they did not get their wishes,
they broke through one police line and tried to force their
way toward the Palace. On-duty Military Police retaliated
with rubber bullets and tear gas. In response, some Civil
Police brandished arms. After a tense period of
confrontation, the protesters dispersed. The incident
produced lurid TV images of a "shoot-out" between the two
groups, one that involved mostly tear gas and rubber bullets.

Rival Organizations

3. (SBU) Both the Civil Police and the Military Police work
for the State of Sao Paulo. The Military Police were created
by the GOB during the period of military rule (1964-1980) and
the two organizations have a sometimes testy relationship In
general, the Military Police are better armed and have more
authority than their Civil Police counterparts.

Other Actors

4. (U) An additional complicating factor was the presence of
members of various unions, Forca Sindical and the Unified
Workers Central (CUT) as well as several left wing
polticians, in the Civil Police demonstration. Though the
Civil Police have their own union, these other organizations
participated in solidarity. Later in the day, Governor Serra
accused the Workers Party (PT) and the unions of trying to
stir up trouble to influence the mayoral election.

Comment: It's Probably Politics

5. (C) The Civil Police effort to get their salary raised is
a longstanding one as is their rivalry with the Military
Police. Nonetheless, this latest incident would appear tied
to politics. While the Civil Police are frustrated that
Serra will not meet with them, at the same time, the PT
candidate for Mayor of Sao Paulo, Marta Suplicy, trails
incumbent DEM Party Mayor Kassab by 15 points in a 10/15 poll
by IBOPE. Kassab is a strong ally of PSDB Governor and
likely Presidential candidate Jose Serra, and the Sao Paulo
Mayor's race is widely viewed as a prequel for the 2010
presidential election. Consequently, the demonstrators'
confrontation with Serra served both the police strikers and
the PT in this pre-election environment, raising the pressure
on Serra to answer the Civil Police demands and creating an
incident that could be used to question the Governor's
leadership.
WHITE

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