Brazil to deploy military to tourist sites, stadium security lax

Tue Aug 2, 2016 6:35pm EDT
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By Pedro Fonseca and Rodrigo Viga Gaier

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil said on Tuesday it was deploying the military to patrol the emblematic tourist sites in Rio de Janeiro to guard against the "minimal" chance of an attack, though security at the Olympic stadium appeared slack three days before the Games.

Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said deploying the military to the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain would free up police to patrol other areas of the city during the Games, which run from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21.

Speaking at the inauguration of the center for international police cooperation, which allows countries competing in the Games to share information on security threats, Moraes said agents with handheld metal detectors would check visitors to the Christ the Redeemer statue, which sits atop the Corcovado mountain at the center of the city.

"The two (tourist) points where we'll deploy the armed forces are Corcovado and the Sugarloaf Mountain," Moraes told reporters.

The military will also patrol strategic points in Rio such as energy, water and telecommunications installations, airports and tram stations.

Concerns over possible attacks at the Games jumped last month after Brazil detained 12 people on suspicion of links to the Islamic State militant group. Police said they were monitoring some 100 suspected Islamist militants, particularly in the porous southern border region with Paraguay and Argentina.

However, the minister said that the chances of any attack were "minimal."

The security operation for the Games will include a total of 85,000 police and soldiers.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Copacabana - 29/07/2016. Soldier in Copacabana.        REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado