The 2016 Summer Olympics is all set to be held in one of the world’s leading party destinations – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 5-21, 2016. The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place at Rio’s famous Maracanã Football Stadium.
Rio has already picked its motto: Live Your Passion; in Portuguese – Viva Sua Paixao. As the excitement for the kick-off mounts, so does a certain level of worry.
Over the recent years, Rio’s police force has taken drastic measures in the name of public security to curtail drug gangs from favelas. These hilltop slums are home to some of the biggest drug traffickers. They have been the root of riots and protests in the city. Rio’s Police are not afraid to use forceful measures to restore obedience.
When Rio hosted the FIFA World Cup, police forces were deployed to ensure that gatherings organized by different gangs from impoverished favelas would not lead to protests. Public killings due to law enforcement by police were at its highest, rising above 40%. Yet they were never held accountable for their approach. Authorities have also had to deploy Special Forces (BOPE) against the favelas drug traffickers.
The drug gangs give no reason for the police to withdraw. They continue to heavily traffic drugs and organize protests that turn violent and disruptive. They are not afraid to destroy public property and burn buses to prove a point. They live in their own parallel universe.
This year, as the Summer Olympics draw closer, Rio citizens are fearful yet again of the way the situation will be tackled. This platform will be used by the drug-lords to put pressure on the police to retreat. Mayor Paes has himself stated that Rio isn’t the safest place in the world. However, he strongly believes that by the time the games approach, with diligent governance, it will be safer.