By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In a joint press conference on Wednesday, July 6th, Defense Minister, Raul Jungmann, and Justice Minister, Alexandre de Moraes, announced that an additional three thousand military personnel would be deployed to Rio de Janeiro to aid in security efforts during the 2016 Olympics. The extra measure raises the total number of armed forces personnel in Rio during the Games from 18,000 to 21,000.
The announcement comes only a day after Defense Minister Jungman confirmed that the Força Nacional (National Security Force), a conglomerate of several Brazilian security forces, would assume control over security operations during the mega-event, which is expected to bring half a million visitors to the city.
According to the ministers, the military force will be deployed in railway stations near Maracanã and the Deodoro Sports Complex, at expressways such as Linha Vermelha, Avenida Brasil and the Transolímpica, and around the airports.
In addition, a large contingent of 5,700 armed soldiers will secure the Copacabana zone area, including the Marina da Glória and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. They will join the six thousand military personnel already in Rio. “If necessary, we will mobilize even more,” said Minister Jungmann.
The Defense Minister also reported that Brazil is working with intelligence agencies from over ninety countries to help identify possible terrorist threats and suspects. “None of these agencies have informed us of any threats,” said the minister who added that the air force is authorized to shoot down any aircraft entering a secured no-fly zone around the Olympic venues.
At the press conference, Minister of Justice de Moraes reiterated that based on the shared assessment of intelligence agencies, including their own, “we have no likelihood of a terrorist attack in the country. Worldwide, we have a series of terrorist acts, the possibility exists around the world. […] But, there is no probability measured from concrete elements,” emphasized Minister de Moraes.
The ministers also announced that in addition to the 21,000 armed forces personnel, twelve naval vessels, 28 military helicopters and seventy armored vehicles would be on hand.
Across the country, another 20,000 soldiers will be on deployed in the five cities holding Rio 2016 Olympic football (soccer) tournament matches: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo.
The Rio 2016 Olympics, the first Olympics to be held in South America, begins on August 5th lasting until August 21st.