By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The number of Civil Police and Delegacia de Atendimento ao Turista (Deat) or Police Tourist Service in and around Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracanã Stadium increased on Sunday, June 23rd to better protect and serve tourists and spectators as problems and confusion reportedly grow in the area.
During matches held at the stadium, problems have included fans without tickets attempting to storm the stadium and in at least two cases partially succeeding. On Wednesday, June 18th approximately one hundred Chile fans forced their way past security and barriers into the Maracanã press room, an event that lead to 85 arrests.
“They did not make it to the seats,” the FIFA organization said in a statement released shortly after the incident, adding; “The situation was brought under control quickly and at least 85 intruders were detained by the military police of Rio de Janeiro.”
Previously on Sunday, June 15th, ten Argentine fans were detained after jumping Maracanã’s fences in an attempt to see their team play Bosnia-Herzegovina in the stadium.
To combat the security breaches, a little under five hundred new officers have been made available for deployment to the area, as well as, the installation of a next set of barriers. A new mobile unit, donated by the Special Secretariat of Security for Major Events, will also help to aid spectators during match days. Complete with five workstations and a cell to detain prisoners, the unit is also equipped with computers with internet access.
“On site, incident reports can be made, for example, reports of loss of documents,” Officer Fernando Albuquerque, the Deputy Chief of the Operational Civilian Police, told Agência Brasil when speaking about the new mobile unit on Sunday. “We want to prevent movement of people and police forces to a police station.”
Reportedly 156 of the the new 470 officers made available for security at Maracanã during World Cup match days, are proficient in other languages to combat communication problems with officers, which are often sited by frustrated and confused spectators.
On Sunday, June 22, following the Belgium and Russia match in Maracanã, confusion arose as the Radial Oeste access area to the subway in the North Zone of the city near the stadium was temporarily closed. “There is a great lack of organization,” Mexican Carlos Verdume told O Globo during the confusion.
“The guy said that the output is on the other side, the subway was crowded, and I could leave here with another group to break the flow. But then I couldn’t get on the subway and no one lets me know what is happening. Many people don’t understand what I’m asking and just told me to go to station that is located in St. Kitts. However, at the same time, the police won’t let pass me on the street, because they are blocked. I’m being falsely imprisoned.”
The difficulties with subway access added to transportation confusion in an area already dealing with congestion due to blocked roads, re-routed bus routes and lack of taxis. Reportedly officials helped some tourists to hail cabs while others waited for over an hour to leave the area after the match.
The next match in Maracanã will be held on Wednesday, June 25th as Ecuador takes on France at 5PM. The second match in the Round of sixteen will also take place in the stadium on June 28th, as well as the first Quarter-final match on July 4th and the Final on Sunday, July 13th.