Plans are in place for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to “deal reasonably” with possible protests and demonstrations taking place during Rio 2016, it has been reported.
Both organisers and the IOC have repeatedly downplayed the risk of protests during the Olympics, despite the toxic political atmosphere ahead of a final decision in the impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, due at the end of next month.
The public do not associates the Olympics with Brazilian problems, they insist publicly, meaning there is little risk of protests.
According to Folha de S.Paulo, however, there have long been concerns about the danger of protesters, particularly in the days ahead of or in the early stages of the Games before, they hope, the distraction of home medal success takes over.
They are planning a lenient approach to the role prohibiting anyone from “bearing posters, flags, or other signs with offensive messages”, adopting a “common sense” approach.
Security guards and staff have been urged to act “cautiously” before taking action against an demonstrator, while camera operators have been urged to avoid any image of protests.
It is possible that the Olympics could be used as a vehicle to propel wider concerns to a larger audience, while others may directly opposed the spending required to host the Games at such a time of economic unease.
Crime levels are also soaring.
A banner held at the main international airport last month read: “Welcome to hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid. Whoever comes to Rio will not be safe.”
A total of 40 body bags, representing the number of people killed by the police in May in the host city, were also displayed in front of the Rio 2016 offices this week in a protest coordinated by Amnesty International.
The IOC have already welcomed groups who claim to have suffered from preparations, meeting displaced residents from Vila Autodromo in Lausanne.
O Estado de S.Paulo also claim that the Games has been considered “high risk” for the general image of the IOC, something which has already plummeted in many quarters after the lenient response to Russian doping allegations.
IOC President Thomas Bach has been hugely positive since arriving here yesterday.
But his vice-president Sir Craig Reedie has admitted that the Brazil of today is a pale shadow of its self when awarded the Games in 2009.
This is due to economic problems and recession as well as the mire of corruption culminating in the impeachment of Rousseff.
“I feel rather sorry for Rio,” Sir Craig, also President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told the Financial Times.
“When the Games were awarded in 2009 everything was in their favour: politically and economically sound, a very popular president and they had found oil.
“In the seven years since virtually everything has gone wrong: the price of oil has dropped dramatically, President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and the economy is undergoing its deepest recession since 1901.
“Hopefully, by the time we get to Rio, steps have been taken to make sure the banner [at the airport] won’t be shown again.”
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.