By Leo Byrne, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The number of police on duty during Carnival has been stepped up this year to 14,454 in order to help ensure the safety of partygoers. The figure marks an increase of 2,500 compared to 2012, aiming to improve security while an estimated million visitors pour into Rio.
Starting today at 8AM when the Carnival officially begins, Rio’s streets will also see an increase in the number of police vehicles on patrol with over two thousand cars moving around the city’s various block parties or ‘blocos’ as they are locally known.
The city will also provide 7,600 military police each day to further guarantee the safety of both the 357 blocos happening this weekend and the Samba School parades in the Marquis de Sapucaí or Sambódromo.
There will also be a reserve troop of the military police’s Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) and Shock Battalions, who will have five hundred officers on call in case of emergencies.
“Carnival in Rio has grown tremendously in recent years and the Military Police is committed to ensuring the safety of revelers. This operation is the result of months of planning. Working in partnership with other corporations, we can ensure a safe Carnival for everyone,” said the military police’s spokesman, Colonel Frederick Caldas.
Visitors to Rio can also look to a special division of police will be dotted around Rio’s popular tourist areas. The Team Battalion Special Tourist Service (Bptur) will ensure that policing the city’s most visited locations will be strengthened and each group of officers will have at least one bilingual representative.
Although generally very safe, Rio’s blocos occasionally generate controversy as the large numbers of party goers can cause disruption to the various neighborhoods in which they are hosted. The Sambódromo samba school parades, due to the presence of VIPs and celebrities is widely considered to be one of the safest venues in South America.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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