Police in Brazil have increased security across the country ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, With many of the Games’ 11,000 athletes and dozens of heads of state in attendance, the much-hyped grand opening ceremony will be the first major test of Rio’s preparedness. More than 80,000 police and soldiers will patrol the streets of Rio alone for the duration of the Games, and have also been carrying out large-scale simulated counter-terrorism exercises in preparation for the sporting event.
Security challenges in the sprawling beachside city are at the forefront of many people’s minds, not only because of Rio’s decades-old reputation for violent street crime, but also due to the recent spate of deadly terrorist attacks across the globe. “Rio has specific crime and security problems,” a Rio police spokesman told FRANCE 24. “It’s a huge city and we’re working with foreign intelligence services. What’s important is we’re preparing for all the different scenarios we could face – to counter all criminal or terrorist threats.”