Rio de Janeiro, Aug 9 (IANS) The Brazilian government has authorised deployment of military troops in the neighbourhood of Copacabana and areas where fans will gather during the Olympic Games.
The increase in military participation in security plans for the 2016 Games was requested by the regional government and authorised in a decree issued by Brazil’s acting President Michel Temer that was published on Monday in a special edition of the Official Gazette, reports EFE news.
In addition to Atlantic Avenue, the street that runs along Copacabana Beach, and other areas in Rio’s most emblematic district, security will also be reinforced at the Santos Dumont airport, the newly-reconfigured facility that is one of the main legacies of the city’s hosting of the Olympic Games.
Copacabana is hosting the beach volleyball, aquatic triathlon and marathon events, and on Saturday and Sunday it was the starting point and finish line for the men’s and women’s long-distance cycling events.
Olympic Boulevard, the broad maritime avenue that has given new life to downtown Rio, has been converted into the main gathering place for fans because it has been equipped with gigantic screens on which people can watch athletic events, concert stages and other attractions.
Rio Governor Francisco Dornelles asked for the military reinforcements after admitting that local police forces had proven to be insufficient to guarantee security at the sites where thousands of members of the public concentrate.
The Defense Ministry said it will not send more soldiers to Rio but rather redeploy some of the 22,000 members of the army, navy and air force who are already stationed in the city to increase security.
Another decree signed by Temer last week authorised the troops to provide additional security at big tourist attractions such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Hill and on Sugarloaf Hill, the two iconic symbols of Rio de Janeiro.
Rio’s security plans include the deployment of some 88,000 police, national guard troops and soldiers.