By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A major test was passed in Rio of the security capabilities that Polícia Federal (Federal Police) forces will provide for foreign officials during Rio+20, the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development, whose main event begins on June 20th. Around 135 presidents, prime minister and other heads of state are set to converge on the city.

Rio+20 Police Simulation in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The Rio+20 multi-police simulation lasted over two weeks and culminated in the arrest of the "terrorist," photo by André Gomes de Melo/Governo do RJ.

Run in conjunction with the Civil and Military police forces, the simulation involved a “dummy” head of state being threatened by a terrorist plot.

Rio Federal Police Superintendent Valmir Lemos de Oliveira acknowledged that traffic was one of the many complications during the operation, but said the part of the simulation involving Rio’s Galeão International Airport went smoothly.

He said the airport was ready to face the challenge of Rio+20, which is expecting over 50,000 participants from 182 UN member countries, including politicians, businesses and NGOs.

The simulation ran for fifteen days and involved thwarting a terrorist plot whilst providing a security detail for a fake head of state – dubbed “David Aziz Barack,” perhaps in a indication of hope that U.S. President Barack Obama might yet come to the Rio+20 event.

The simulation ended with the terrorist arrested and with the head of state escaping unscathed. As few people as possible were informed of the operation to ensure it was as realistic as possible.

Those involved are said to be convinced the city is now ready to take on the influx of visitors, including the more VIP ones, for Rio+20, the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, as well as uniting the various police forces and establishing protocols for coordinated actions, should it become necessary.

The coming months will see five similar exercises taking part in other host cities holding major events in the future.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.

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