Security concerns dog Games as Portugal minister robbed

Sun Aug 7, 2016 3:04pm EDT
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By Brad Brooks and Rodrigo Viga Gaier

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Portugal's education minister was robbed at knifepoint on Saturday at the Olympic lake where rowing events are taking place, but escaped unharmed, authorities said.

Education Minister Tiago Brandao Rodrigues and an aide were walking near the event area when they were assaulted.

The assailant was quickly located by police at the lake, a few blocks away from Ipanema beach, and arrested. Rodrigues' belongings were returned to him.

It was the latest incident in a series of robberies that have hit visitors since the Olympics opened on Friday. Rio has dramatically lowered its crime levels in recent years, but there has been a spike in murders and assaults in recent months.

Authorities said that 85,000 soldiers and police patrolling streets for the Games - double the number of security officials in place during the London Games in 2012 - would keep Rio safe.

But even top security officials are not immune to attacks.

Brazil's Ministry of Justice confirmed that Felipe Seixas, coordinator of security for special events within the government's Secretariat for the Security of Large Events, was the target of an assault as he left the opening ceremony Friday.

Seixas, who was accompanied by two undercover police, was confronted by would-be robbers outside Maracana stadium.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Rowing - Preliminary - Women's Quadruple Sculls Heats - Lagoa Stadium - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil - 06/08/2016. A security guard stands by the Lagoa rowing venue REUTERS/Murad Sezer