Armoured cars, soldiers in camouflage, secure Rio Olympics

2016-07-10 07:13
A soldier stands guard at a train station in Rio de Janeiro. (Leo Correa, AP)

A soldier stands guard at a train station in Rio de Janeiro. (Leo Correa, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rio de Janeiro - Brazilian soldiers were on the streets on Saturday, checking out spots around the city that will get intense security when the Rio de Janeiro Olympics open in just under four weeks.

Armoured vehicles and trucks carrying troops were accompanied by soldiers decked out in camouflage gear and matching helmets, with rifles slung over their shoulders. The soldiers covered the city - from Copacabana Beach to the central train station and the renovated port area.

Rio's rising crime rate is at the top of a long list of problems confronting South America's first games: the Zika epidemic, severe water pollution, a crushing recession and slow ticket sales.

In addition, Brazil President Dilma Rousseff faces an impeachment trial that is likely to start just after the Olympics end.

The one-day show of force was intense with the Olympics set for August 5-21.

"What we are doing today (Saturday) is patrolling and checking out the areas where we can deploy during the games," Brazilian army spokesperson Colonel Mario Medina said.

He said the full deployment would begin on July 24 and continue through the end of the Paralympic Games. Those games are September 7-18.

Rio de Janeiro will use about 85 000 soldiers and police to secure the games, about twice as many as London four years ago. About 10 500 athletes are expected for the Olympics with 300 000 to 500 000 foreign tourists.

"We won't have a problem during the Olympics," Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said Saturday. "I'd say Rio will be the most secure place in the world during this period."

The state of Rio de Janeiro has acknowledged it's broke, which has delayed salaries for police and hospital workers and raised worries about security in an already crime-ridden city.

Passengers arriving recently at Rio's international airport have been greeted by police holding up banners that read: "Welcome to Hell."

Saturday's deployment comes in a wake of reports of rising violence, which included mangled body parts washing up on Copacabana Beach, and sailors from Australia and Spain being robbed as they trained for the games.

Human Rights Watch said that police have killed 645 people in Rio so far this year. It says some were "most likely the result of the legitimate use of force, but many others were extrajudicial executions".

Officials are also worried about terrorism and say they are they are working with foreign governments to detect any threats.

Read more on:    olympics 2016  |  brazil

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.