Brazilians 'march for peace' after police shooting of boy

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - The mother of a 10-year-old boy shot dead by Brazilian police joined Rio protesters in a "march for peace" on Saturday after two days of tensions which have renewed security concerns ahead of next year's Olympics.

"They killed my son, they are murderers!" grieving mother Terezinha Maria de Jesus told an AFP reporter, two days after her son Eduardo de Jesus Ferreira was shot dead.

The child's killing in Rio's sprawling Alemao favela triggered angry protests on Friday which saw violent clashes with police.

Several hundred demonstrators turned out again on Saturday carrying white placards demanding an end to violence and a withdrawal of police from the favelas.

Four people have died and three more have been wounded in a little over 24 hours of violence in Rio.

Protesters have blamed the violence on frequent gun battles between police and drug traffickers in the Alemao favela.

Police say Ferreira was shot Thursday when they came under fire from a group of "criminals" in Areal, one of the slums that make up the complex of 70,000 people.

But his parents rejected that account, insisting there was no gun fight.

A heavy police presence was monitoring Saturday's march but kept its distance, an attempt to avoid a repeat of scenes on Friday when they dispersed protesters with tear gas.

Brazil's government has carried out a drive to crack down on crime in Rio ahead of the 2014 World Cup and next year's Olympics.

In all, 38 police units have been sent into 174 impoverished, crime-wracked neighbourhoods around Rio as part of a "pacification" programme.