By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tourists visiting Rio’s Christ the Redeemer or Sugarloaf Mountain will have to pass through metal detectors starting this week. The measures seek to guarantee the security of visitors to two of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmarks during the Olympics.
According to Brazil’s Justice Minister, Alexandre de Moraes, the two popular tourist spots will also be guarded by the Brazilian armed forces. “We found the request made today by Rio de Janeiro’s Security Secretary [Jose Mariano] Beltrame, reasonable and logical. We have fifty machines in Brasilia that are not being used; we will bring them here to Rio de Janeiro and we will call a few more agents to place there at Corcovado,” Moraes told reporters on Tuesday.
Moraes was in Rio to inaugurate the International Police Cooperation Center, which will hold during the Olympic and Paralympic Games more than 250 agents from 55 countries. The center will operate 24-hours per day, seven days per week until September 20th, after the end of the Paralympic Games.
“The great legacy [of the Games] from a public safety point of view is the integration between the intelligence agencies, between agencies and operational teams. We intend to keep it [center] after the Olympics. It is the largest international police cooperation center set up in any country and we must take advantage of this also after the Olympics,” said the official.
More than 47,000 security agents are at hand in Rio de Janeiro, occupying strategic points in the city to guarantee the safety of athletes and visitors alike. According to Brazilian authorities the security apparatus for this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games is the biggest yet for the Games.
In addition to the thousands of agents, sixty ships, seventy armored vehicles, and 34 helicopters will be assisting in monitoring competition areas and important city venues. The armed forces will monitor important highways, metro and rail stations as well as Copacabana beach. They are also in charge of safekeeping water and power stations and telecommunications structures.