By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Due to a rise in tension and number of disputes during election time in Brazil, Military Police are reinforcing security as part of special operations in sixteen states, including Rio de Janeiro. The Military Police began their operation in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, October 3rd at 11AM.
In addition to the 14,365 officers already scheduled for duty, 15,190 officers are participating in the operation, which includes the policing of 5,430 polling stations. Officers will also watch for and report incidents of vote buying and voter coercion.
“The special program will run until the last delivery of the votes to the Regional Electoral Court or even after that, if there is any problem,” Coronel Cláudio Costa, public relations officer for the Military Police, told Agência Brasil.
Rio de Janeiro, along with fifteen other states, requested and were granted the use of policing support during the election by the Justiça Eleitoral (Electoral Court).
Other states include, Maranhão, Paraíba, Tocnatins, Pará, Rio Grande do Norte, Mato Grosso, Amazonas, Piauí, Rondônia, and Sergipe. The southern state of Santa Catarina was the most recent area to receive reinforcements. At least sixty attacks has been reported in that state in the two weeks leading up to the elections.
In Rio de Janeiro state, reports of violent incidents have been reported in the municipality of Niterói and in the city of Rio, in areas including Complexo do Alemão and Complexo da Maré.
“I’m living through a third election in Rio,” Rio State’s Security Secretary, José Mariano Beltrame told O Globo. “There is a predisposition for these confrontations to happen in election periods. In 2007, for example, buses were set on fire with people inside. […] In 2010, dozens of buses were burned.”
“Let’s ensure the right of all to vote,” Beltrame later added, “by enhancing security in Rio with about 30,000 PMs, especially in the vicinity of polling places and regions with UPPs.”
An estimated 142.8 million Brazilians will cast their votes today, Sunday, October 5th, for approximately 22,791 candidates vying for positions that include, President of the country and governor of twenty-seven states.
Read more about the Brazilian electoral process here.