Violence erupts near planned 2016 Olympics venue in Rio de Janeiro
As if the organizers of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics needed more bad news, angry residents have clashed with police in a slum not far from the planned site of the Games’ swimming events.
Violence erupted in the Pavao-Pavaozinho neighborhood after the death of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, a dancer on a popular TV show.
“The police beat my friend to death, just like they’ve tortured and killed in other communities,” Johanas Mesquita, a 23-year-old resident of Pavao-Pavaozinho, told the Associated Press.
The circumstances surrounding the dancer’s death remained unclear, but there has been tension in poor neighborhoods, known as favelas, where authorities have pursued an aggressive plan to drive out criminal gangs.
Late Tuesday, Pavao-Pavaozinho residents reportedly set fires and hurled homemade explosives at police. Gunfire was exchanged. One person was killed and another injured.
Rio is preparing not only for the Games, but also for the World Cup this summer.
Amid public unrest, construction delays and governmental chaos, the International Olympic Committee has launched a series of emergency measures. The IOC will send a troubleshooter to Brazil and establish task forces to work with local authorities.
IOC President Thomas Bach recently expressed hope that Rio’s problems could be solved, but stopped short of ruling out a last-minute change to another city.
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