By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – With a month to go before the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian national security has taken over the security of all installations to be used for the competitions and the Olympic Village where athletes will be staying.
A big concern for both Brazilian officials and foreign visitors, security of the Games has been making headlines across the country and around the world. But according to the Ministry of Justice, a joint federal, state and local security scheme has been set into motion to make sure the Games go on without any incidents.
According to Andrei Rodrigues, head of the ministry’s special secretariat of security for major event, 85,000 agents, including armed forces personnel, police officers and firefighters, ‘will be at hand to ensure safety on the streets of Rio de Janeiro’.
“We believe that with the reinforcement of our policing operations, supported by the armed forces and by members of forces from other countries, we will have the full capacity to guarantee a peaceful environment,” Rodrigues said.
Officials also said security services have been running extensive background checks on everyone involved in the Games. In total, the backgrounds of about 400,000 people have been analyzed, including volunteers, journalists and officials. So far, 7,262 people have failed these checks and their requests for accreditation to access Olympic areas have been turned down.
Concerns surrounding security in the Olympics increased even further over the weekend after Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes complained to foreign journalists about the state government’s “terrible” security organization for the Games. On Monday, however, Paes tried smooth things over stating that “security is not an Olympic problem, public security has been a problem in Rio for as long as one can remember. It is a problem for all of us, always”.
The Rio 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games are expected to attract more than 500,000 tourists and over 10,000 athletes.