Just 24 hours before the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, police have been forced to use tear-gas and rubber bullets to clear protesters from the path of the Olympic torch through a poor suburb of Rio de Janeiro. As The Guardian reports, police said anti-government protesters in Duque de Caixas, on Rio’s north side, threw rocks and blocked the torch’s path; and 3 people (including a 10-year-old girl) were injured.
— Business News (@BusinessNewzzz) August 4, 2016
Hundreds of people blocked the streets in the north of Rio to protest about the high cost of the Games in a country already struggling with recession, corruption and political crisis. Footage showed crowds, including children, fleeing from the police, who reportedly said a group refused to leave one lane of the road open for the torch, the BBC reported. Riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and video footage appeared to show a policeman firing a projectile directly at a protester. The video you won’t see on mainstream media coverage of the The Olympics..
— Press Association (@PA) August 4, 2016
As The Guardian details, Olympic Brazilian sailors earlier delivered the torch to the host city’s mayor after crossing Guanabara Bay near the end of a 20,000km (12,400-mile) journey through one of the world’s largest and most diverse countries.
The flame landed at 9.15am local time while a few kilometres away 450 heavily armed police battled drug traffickers to carry out dozens of arrest orders in the Alemao slum, an area near the international airport and close to the main road to Olympic venues.
Armed soldiers stood patrol on highways and on many corners throughout the city.
Police said anti-government protesters in Duque de Caixas, on Rio’s north side, threw rocks and blocked the torch’s path. Police dispersed them with pepper spray and rubber bullets.
Three people were injured by rubber bullets, including a 10-year-old girl, local media reported.
The clash, which came a day after anti-torch protests in nearby towns and amid several days of gang violence in northern Brazil, underscored social tension in the massive country.
— Thomas Gerritsen (@ThomGerritsen) August 4, 2016
The world’s largest sporting event comes to Brazil in the midst of the country’s worst recession in at least a quarter of a century and an impeachment trial of a suspended president. Many residents struggling with the dire economy question the wisdom of hosting the Olympics, a bid Brazil won in 2009 while the economy was booming.
Some 85,000 police, soldiers and security personnel are being deployed in Rio, more than double the amount in London in 2012, to deter both violent street crime and the threat of attacks by extremists.