Rio Olympics 2016: AOC calls for mobilisation of security forces

first_imgBrazilian cities among the world’s most violentAustralian athletes have been frequently reminded of the dangers presented in Brazil.Canberra BMX world champion Caroline Buchanan had money taken from her bank accounts after her credit cards were skimmed by housekeepers when staying at a Rio hotel for an Olympic Test event last year.According to a 2015 report Brazil had the most number of violent cities of any country in the world, although Rio was not one of them.Of the top 50 cities by homicide rate worldwide, Brazil had 19, according to the Mexican Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.The US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security in 2015 gave Rio de Janeiro a crime rating of “critical”.”Organized crime in Rio is controlled by major drug gangs, operating mainly in the favelas,” the department’s guidance states.”There have been instances of large-scale gun battles in and around the favelas during some of the police operations.” The move follows six-time Paralympian Liesl Tesch being robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight in the Brazilian city on the weekend.Tesch was on a bike ride with Australian physio Sarah Ross when two men jumped in front of them and demanded money.The Australian women had their bikes stolen and were left rattled by the incident which is a reminder to athletes of the dangers they face in a city that has a long history of crime.”The Rio organisers need to introduce the extra security precautions as soon as possible before an athlete gets hurt,” Australian team chef de mission Kitty Chiller said in a statement on Tuesday.’We have written to them today asking them to address this issue.”This is not an isolated incident, athletes have been mugged while training or competing in Rio Test events and we want our athletes protected.”I am sure the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) shares our view following this latest incident.”The AOC said the Rio Organising Committee has promised a security force of 100,000 police, military and other security personnel in time for the Olympics starting on August 5. The security force will remain in place for the Paralympics which begin on September 7.Chiller said the AOC wants the security forces on the ground in Rio as soon as possible but it will continue to advise athletes how to stay safe in Rio.”Basically we are saying that if you are confronted by criminals, comply, handover your belongings and don’t argue. That is exactly what the two Paralympians did on Sunday”.The AOC is also understood to be considering imposing a curfew on all Australian athletes.Tesch expects security protocols to be stepped up again by the APC following her latest experience.”We joked about the security, but we’ve stuck by what we agreed to as a team, and when it becomes real, it’s like, wow, this is not a statistic in this city, it is a reality,” Tesch said.last_img

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