Brazil has “total confidence” that it can ensure security for more than half a million tourists and athletes attending the Rio Olympics this August, a senior official said today.
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 terrorist 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 Monday to complain that they don’t have enough funds for fuel or even toilet paper in their stations.
However, 47,000 police officers and 38,000 soldiers, whose tasks will include securing transport corridors, will keep a lid on crime, Rodrigues said. This is double the number deployed in the 2012 London Olympics.
He 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 41 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.”
International cooperation on intelligence will be key to stopping terrorism, he said, and Brazil is hosting a coordination center 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,” he said.
A separate joint anti-terrorism center currently brings together officers from seven countries, along with Brazil, neighboring Argentina and Paraguay, and 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.