(Reuters) - Just days before Rio de Janeiro hosts the Olympics, the city’s Mayor Eduardo Paes has taken to Twitter to slam critics of his role in preparing for the Games.
Paes tends not to pull punches with critics, sometimes literally. In 2013, he hit a constituent in the face after the man lambasted the mayor as he dined with his wife.
This week, Paes took to social media to engage opponents in digital fisticuffs, responding to profanity-laced Tweets that were sent his way.
On Sunday, Paes responded to one Tweet, saying the sender should “Stop being so grumpy. Go drink a beer, play some soccer, go to bed early, go to church, hang out with your girlfriend.”
It was retweeted 191 times and ignited a running conversation.
“You drank a lot today, didn’t you, mayor?” responded one woman, whose profile photo depicts her guzzling a mug of beer.
The mayor’s press team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Paes has grown increasingly irritated with the criticism of Rio’s preparations for the Olympics.
The event begins Aug. 5 as Brazil faces its worst recession since the 1930s, an increase in crime, and fears about the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
Impeachment proceedings will likely see suspended President Dilma Rousseff ousted just after the Aug. 21 closing ceremony.
Additionally, federal prosecutors are investigating several Olympic projects for suspected corruption - the mayor strongly denies any graft - and the Rio state government has been blasted for failing to clean the sewage-infested bay where Olympic sailing events will take place.
Paes was defiant in the face of science while responding to a recent study that researchers had found drug-resistant super bacteria on Rio’s most popular beaches and in waters where athletes will compete.
“If there were any super bacteria, there would not be a single Carioca alive,” he Tweeted Sunday, using the nickname for citizens of Rio.
He pointed to Rio’s long history of successfully pulling off big events as proof that all will go well with the Olympics.
The city annually hosts millions of visitors for Carnival, one of the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve parties, and was widely lauded by tourists during the 2014 World Cup.
Amid the criticism, the mayor at times retained a sense of humor.
One man Tweeted that Paes’s suggestion that the state government allows the Flamengo and Fluminense soccer clubs to run Rio’s famed Maracana stadium was “the only decent thing you have done during an awful administration.”
Paes cheekily replied: “Cheers! At least there was one!”
Editing by Bernadette Baum