Thursday, April 24, 2014
Boykott Brasil 2014! - Deadly riot in Rio’s Copacabana district with World Cup weeks away
Security forces prepare for World Cup in a restive Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO — Drones, bomb-detecting robots, camera glasses, rubber bullets and sound and light grenades will all be at the ready if Brazilian police need them to quell disturbances during the FIFA World Cup. The Brazilian military also has a contingency plan in case President Dilma Rousseff calls it to the streets. But the military’s main role will be to secure stadiums, the skies, the waters and public utilities, and guard against any terrorist threats during the June 12 through July 13 event.
The possibility of massive street protests — a contingency that was scarcely part of initial World Cup security planning — is now front and center after some 1 million Brazilians demonstrated in June during the FIFA Confederations Cup, considered a dress rehearsal for the world’s premier soccer event. Violence in Brazil’s shantytowns, or favelas, also is a possibility during the Copa as security forces continue an effort to take back the streets from criminal gangs in neighborhoods where emotions are already on edge. For the World Cup, 150,000 police and members of the armed forces will be involved and another 20,000 people trained in event security, according to Andrei Rodrigues of Brazil’s Ministry of Justice.
One person was shot and killed as violent protests erupted in Rio’s Copacabana beach district less than two months before soccer’s World Cup begins in Brazil. The riots followed the death of a dancer, allegedly at the hands of police. Brazilian media said he was fatally beaten after officers mistook him for a drug trafficker. Two main roads were closed on Tuesday after demonstrators from a slum set alight barricades of tyres and hurled bottles and other missiles at police.
A 30-year-old man died after being shot in the head in the slum, which is just a stone’s throw from Copacabana beach. He was taken to hospital but was dead on arrival, health officials said. It was not immediately clear who shot him. Demonstrators are furious that billions of dollars have been spent on World Cup infrastructure instead of public housing, roads, more aid for the poor and ending violent crime. The trouble began in the early evening in the Pavao-Pavaozinho favela – which nestles above the well-heeled tourist centres of Copacabana and Ipanema – before quickly spreading, witnesses said.
“It started about 5.30 pm. There was smoke everywhere, gunshots in the street and people racing for home,” said a young man who lives next to the favela, or slum. “A number of police special unit trucks have just gone up into the favela. We are stuck at home – we can’t go out,” he added, as helicopters flew over. Another resident said electricity supplies had been cut in the area and reported that the situation remained tense. Media reported that the violence had spilled over into Ipanema as some youngsters went on the rampage there, pursued by police.