Rio Olympics : Police protest but Brazil ‘confident’ of security


Police have been protesting this week as they face funding shortages at a time of rising street crime. Photo / AP

Street crime is on the rise and police have been protesting over
their working conditions but still says it has “total confidence”
that it can ensure security for more than half a million tourists and
athletes attending the Rio Olympics next month.
Andrei Rodrigues,
secretary for major events at the Justice Ministry, said that a heavy
police presence on the ground and international cooperation on
intelligence gathering would overcome potential terror threats and the
danger of violent crime.
“I have total confidence in our
preparations for the security of the Games,” Rodrigues told reporters a
month ahead of the August 5-21 Olympics, which he described as “the
biggest event on the planet”.
Street crime is on the rise in Rio
where budget cuts have left emergency services stretched, with police
demonstrating on Tuesday to complain that they don’t have enough funds
for fuel or even toilet paper in their stations.

In a grim reminder of Rio’s often brutal realities, local
newspapers reported yesterday that a mutilated body had been found – and
witnessed by bathers – on Copacabana beach, where Olympic beach
volleyball and other events will take place.
Police could not be contacted to comment on the reports in O Dia and O Globo newspapers.
said that 47,000 police officers and 38,000 soldiers, whose tasks will
include securing transport corridors, will keep a lid on crime. This is
double the number deployed in the 2012 London Olympics.

A protester in the streets of Rio. Photo / APHe also played down fears of a terrorist attack in
Rio following a string of bloody, low-tech assaults in France, Belgium
and this week Istanbul airport, where jihadists fired into crowds, then
blew themselves up, killing 42 people and injuring 239, according to the
latest count.
“Brazil today is adopting the best international
practices for security at major events and in the specific case of
countering terrorism we have adopted all possible practices,” he said.
“We are not going to alter our plans. We will be ever more vigilant.”
cooperation on intelligence will be key to stopping terrorism, he said,
and Brazil is hosting a coordination centre with 250 officers from 55
countries to exchange information.
“It’s the biggest operation of international police cooperation – not just in Brazil but for Interpol,” Rodrigues said.
separate joint anti-terrorism centre currently brings together officers
from seven countries, along with Brazil: neighbouring Argentina and
Paraguay, plus Belgium, Britain, France, Spain and the United States.
“It’s the first time there’s been this type of capability for security at the Olympic Games,” he said.
said that almost 394,000 people had undergone background checks so far
and that 1.8 per cent of these had been barred from the Olympic Games.
In all, he expected 600,000 background checks to be made.
Also yesterday, authorities announced measures to ensure security at airports in Rio and to prevent attacks involving aircraft.
all our efforts to prepare, events like yesterday’s [in Turkey] put us
on the alert. The Transport Ministry has met to boost scrutiny in these
areas. The forces are ready. We have measures that will adopted and
which we cannot reveal for security reasons,” said Transport Minister
Mauricia Quintella.
One measure will be requiring private jets to
first go through a security check at an airport outside Rio before
continuing to the city during the hours of 8am and 10pm.
“If not,
planes will only be able to land between 2am and 8am when there is no
mass gathering in progress. This will be another measure for minimising
possible attacks,” a government statement said.

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