Police patrols beefed up at Rio Games as security concerns mount
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[August 11, 2016]
By Daniel Flynn and Caroline Stauffer
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Rio Olympics
organizers stepped up police patrols on Wednesday as security
concerns mounted over the threat posed by street violence, with a
Games bus being hit by stones and a security patrol coming under
fire near Rio's international airport.
In the latest incident, gunmen fired on a military police car which
strayed into the entrance of a slum near the airport, off a highway
used by visitors traveling between there and the Olympic Park,
security sources and the country's justice minister said.
Three members of the patrol were wounded, including one who is in a
critical condition and receiving a blood transfusion in hospital.
Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes called the attack "unfortunate
and cowardly." He said two suspects had been identified and police
would move swiftly to arrest them.
In the past week, three Swedish tourists were briefly abducted when
they visited a slum, Portugal's visiting education minister was
robbed at knifepoint, bullets flew into the equestrian center and a
Games bus was attacked with stones.
On Tuesday night, the bus was ferrying journalists from a basketball
venue to the Olympics media center when projectiles shattered two
windows. Some passengers said they heard gunshots but a police
investigation concluded that they were stones.
Two people suffered minor lacerations in the incident.
Police said they were investigating a second bullet discovered at
the equestrian center. A security source said the shell was found
near the stables.
Authorities say a bullet fired on Saturday was targeting a
surveillance blimp being flown near the equestrian center during the
In the case of the bus attack, Luiz Fernando Correa, security chief
for the Games, said stones had hit the metal rim of the vehicle's
windows, making a loud noise, before smashing the glass.
"We have not been able to identify who did this but it appears to be
an act of vandalism, not an act of criminal aggression targeting
anyone in particular," he told reporters. He did not specify whether
they had found the stones.
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Security personnel stand guard at the equestrian venue. REUTERS/Tony
Correa said police would step up patrols along roads linking the
Olympic Park with the Deodoro stadium where basketball events are
being held. The route passes several poor neighborhoods.
A police source told Reuters it was the third time an Olympics bus
had been targeted by youths throwing stones.
"This was a worrying and intolerable incident," Rio 2016 spokesman
Mario Andrada told a news conference, adding that organizers were
striving to improve security.
Andrada said a separate incident, involving a man who impaled
himself after falling off a fence in the media complex, was a
"one-off" and had nothing to do with the quality of facilities. The
man was rushed to hospital.
In relation to the bus attack, one of the passengers said she was
unsatisfied with authorities' explanations.
Sherryl "Lee" Michaelson, who was traveling on the bus when it was
hit, said she had heard shots just before the windows shattered. She
said she was a retired U.S. Air Force captain and is working in Rio
for a basketball publication.
A Reuters photograph taken in the first moments after the bus was
attacked showed a small hole, about the width of a finger, in one of
"I will not believe that was stone-throwing unless I see a forensics
and a ballistics report looking not at the steel surround ... but at
the glass, which was the point of impact," Michaelson told reporters
after the news conference.
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