- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Some Rio de Janeiro police officers are warning tourists that they’re on their own this summer as the Brazilian city struggles to cope with rising violent crime ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.

About 100 Rio state police officers protested last week in the arrivals hall of Rio’s main international airport holding banners that read “Welcome to Hell,” Agence France-Presse reported.

“Police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe,” the sign said, CNN reported.

“We are here to show citizens and tourists from abroad the realities of Brazil,” said veteran police Officer Alexander Neto, 56. “They’ve been conned and we, too, have been conned. You have to understand there is no public security.”

Rio state, which is nearing bankruptcy amid Brazil’s worst recession in decades, says those late payments are now being made thanks to an emergency federal bailout.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes recently told CNN that the state was doing a “terrible” job in regard to security in the lead-up to the games, set to kick off Aug. 5.

“It’s completely failing at its work of policing and taking care of people,” Mr. Paes said.

But on Monday at the presentation of a new bus expressway, the mayor declared that Rio is “100 percent ready” for the summer games, AFP reported.

Still, Mr. Paes cautioned that visitors should not expect to find a city that operates like Chicago, New York or London.

“Our development stage is different,” he said, CNN reported.

Brazil expects to greet at least 500,000 tourists for the Aug. 5-21 Games. Authorities will deploy 85,000 police backed by soldiers on Rio’s streets — twice as many as used in the 2012 London Olympics.


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