Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 8th 2014 Contents 14
Violent protests a year ago during a
warm-up tournament for the World
Cup caught everyone by surprise, in-
cluding police and troops who strug-
gled daily to contain them.
Tear gas wafted into the Maracana
stadium during the Confederations Cup
final between Brazil and Spain, and po-
lice and soldiers clashed with protesters
just a few hundred metres from the Rio
Social problems and rising prices that
set off the protests a year ago still
linger. Brazil will deploy hundreds of
thousands of police, soldiers and secu-
rity guards around the 12 venues, and up
and down its long border with 10 other
South American countries.
Here's a look at the security and crime
AIR AND SEA
Brazil will deploy about 150,000 troops
and police in the 12 cities --- and an
added 20,000 security guards. In addi-
tion, about 10,000 specially trained elite
riot troops will be available. Brazil also
assigned 30,000 army, navy and air
force troops to secure its 17,000-kilo-
metres (10,600-mile) border against
drug trafficking and smuggling.
Brazil has received training from several
countries in dealing with crowd control.
Brazilian officials have said the United
States has contributed, as have France,
Britain, Japan, Canada and Germany.
"We have cases of violence in our
cities, violence with social origins, com-
mon crime, robberies," Sports Minister
Aldo Rebelo has said. "We are trying to
contain this. We know our country may
be harmed when this violence is seen by
the world, as would any country where
RIO BEEFS UP
In Rio, about 2,000 extra police have
been put on the streets. Authorities
were not planning to beef up until just
before the June 12 kickoff.
"We've really perceived an increase in
crimes. We've seen a gradual increase
since the second half of last year," Rio
state security head Jose Beltrame said.
In March, muggings in the area around
the Maracana doubled when compared
to the same month the previous year,
according to an analysis of police statis-
tics from the O Globo newspaper.
The Maracana will play host to seven
World Cup matches including the final
on July 13.
Additionally, police and drug gangs in
recent months have engaged in several
sharp exchanges of gunfire in several
so-called "pacified" shantytowns around
the city. Some of the fiercest fights have
taken place in a slum located just one
block from tourist-favorite Copacabana
ASSAULT BIGGEST THREAT
The Brazilian government this week
quietly cut its estimates of foreign
World Cup visitors in half, from 600,000
to 300,000. Another 3 million locals are
expected for the matches, but fewer
outsiders may reduce the crime prob-
lem. The biggest threats to most fans
will be robbery and assault. Security
around the stadiums is sure to be ro-
bust, but police may be stretched thin in
other areas of the cities. Tourists could
be inviting targets in hotel and enter-
Much of the crime takes place around
the cities' favelas or shantytowns, home
to about 20 percent of Rio de Janeiro's
Criminals can be brazen. Earlier this
year a local TV crew in Rio was inter-
viewing a woman on camera about
crime in the area. As she was speaking,
a mugger came up from behind, ripped
off her necklace and ran off.
The Belgian government has sug-
gested that its citizens at the World
Cup should keep a little cash to hand
over if they are assaulted. Thieves get
angry if they come away empty handed.
It also suggested caution using bank
cards and credit cards.
Brazilian authorities say they will allow
peaceful protests, but these will only be
permitted in areas at least a mile (2 kilo-
meters) from the stadiums.
Brazilians angry about rising price and
the billions spent on football stadiums
are likely to protest, and may get mixed
in with members of the Black Bloc, an
anarchist group that has already an-
nounced its intention to protest.
Their protests have often caused dam-
aged storefronts, looting and torched
vehicles. Labor groups and people dis-
placed by stadium construction are also
likely to air grievances.
Nationwide protests are expected
Thursday, coming the day after Rio ends
a two-day bus strike.
Jerome Valcke, the top FIFA official in
charge of the World Cup, said recently it
was "naive" to think there would be
calm as long as the Brazil team stays in
"It goes beyond that," he said. "Rea-
sons for being in the streets in 2013
have not changed. There are social prob-
lems in Brazil. It will take time."
RIGHT TO THE TOP
President Dilma Rousseff, who is up
for re-election in October. She's also
concerned about security.
"We will guarantee the security of
fans, tourists, teams and the heads-of-
state that will visit us," she has said. "I
am certain we will host the cup of cups."
Valcke has repeated the same pledge.
"I'm sure that the safety of the World
Cup will be at the highest level for all
people involved," he said. "The highest
level of security you can imagine."
Even without World Cup protests,
Brazil's cities can be dangerous. It has
more cities on the list of the world's 50
most dangerous metropolises than any
other, with 15 entries, according to the
Mexico-based Citizen Council for Public
Safety and Criminal Justice.
Links Archive June 7th 2014 June 9th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page