Two people, including a woman, have been shot dead in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, amid protests against corruption and overspending on the 2016 Olympic Games.
According to a Rio police statement on Saturday, a mugger was intercepted by an officer a day earlier near Maracanã Stadium, where the opening ceremony of the Olympics took place, and was gunned down. “The man was carrying out assaults when a military police officer… shot him.”
Hours earlier, a 51-year-old woman, an architect, was attacked by three armed muggers while she was driving by one of the main entrances to the Olympic Boulevard, close to another Olympic site. She tried to escape the assailants but was shot in the head and killed on the spot, police stated.
In a separate incident, a loud explosion was heard near the finishing line of the men’s cycling course, but no report of panic or possible casualties was released and the race continued without interruption. The cause of the blast is currently being investigated by bomb squad members.
Brazil has deployed an unprecedented force of 85,000 soldiers and police to ensure the security of the games, particularly in Rio, with a population of almost 6.5 million people, where drug traffickers control large parts of its poor districts.
In late July, China warned its nationals visiting Brazil to follow safety precautions following a spate of thefts and armed robberies committed against the Chinese.
On Friday, thousands of people demonstrated in front of the elegant Belmond Copacabana Palace hotel to express outrage at acting President Michel Temer, who came to power in May after the suspension of Dilma Rousseff following an impeachment over allegations of spending national funds without congressional consent.
Near Maracanã Stadium, for which more than USD 500 million have been spent over the past two years, some of the poorest people in Brazil reside in dire conditions lacking proper sanitation, health care, education as well as security due to drug violence.
The Rio Olympics, which started on August 5, are the first Olympic Games to be ever held in a South American country. The sports event is supposed to showcase the largest South American country’s political stability and growing economy.