Just days before the upcoming Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, the Brazil Ministry of Justice fired security firm, Artel, who was supposedly hired to provide screening personnel for Olympic venues. The government body has replaced them with federal and state police, since then.
Alexandre Moraes, Justice Minister of Brazil, assured the public about the capability of their law enforcers, activating even retired cops in Rio and from other states. They, along with the active police officers, will comprise the 3,000 security personnel who will screen spectators and run the metal detectors in the various Olympic venues spread around the city.
The ministry did not give a specific reason on the dismissal of the agency, citing only “incompetence and irresponsibility” as their basis. Though this may largely be attributed to the fact that the Artel hired only 500 people to man all of the venues. They initially promised 3,400.
With the government taking over the security screening, this adds on to the 85,000 soldiers, police and other government officers who will be guarding and patrolling the streets of Rio.
This is in response to widespread concerns on safety, since Brazil has one of the highest homicides rates in the world, with about 50 cities listed down as murder capitals of the world. Despite this figure, previous large-scale events in Rio like Carnival and the recent World Cup have been successful, seeing minor security gaffes.
But another concern facing the government of Brazil and Rio organizers is the protest of these security personnel, who are complaining about their unpaid wages. Some police even took to Rio’s International Airport to voice their frustration for having to go as far as begging for donations of writing and cleaning materials.
Although the governor of Rio has already declared a financial emergency to hopefully bolster spending on the games’ security, many are still worried that Rio is not ready. Hopefully, they are wrong.
PHOTO COURTESY: André Gustavo Stumpf/ Flickr