Brazil boosts security in Rio before polls

Brazil boosts security in Rio before polls

Sat Oct 4, 2014 5:31AM GMT

Brazil has beefed up security in Rio de Janeiro ahead of this week’s regional and presidential elections.

Lieutenant Colonel Claudio Costa, the public relations officer for Rio’s military police, said on Friday that police units working with the Regional Electoral Tribunal (TRE) will deploy additional 15,000 officers ahead of the polls on Sunday amid reports of drug-related violence in the region.

The deployment of additional forces brings the number of police on duty in the state to about 30,000.

“There will be some 15,000 police officers located in the voting venues, monitoring the polling areas and accompanying the TRE workers. We will deploy special units, such as riot units and special forces, in important parts of the city, strategic areas,” Costa said.

The authorities increased the number of police and military patrols in the streets of Rio after an overnight outbreak of violence. Police said two buses and a van were torched by suspected drug traffickers in revenge for the police shooting of a fellow gang member in a slum on Thursday.

According to reports, at least three people have been killed since the first gun battle between soldiers and gang members in Rio on Tuesday. The authorities say the state has a “predisposition” for violence during an electoral period.

Recent opinion polls suggest incumbent president Dilma Rousseff will secure a second term after a run-off election. If that happens, it would be a sea change after the massive anti-government protests over Brazil’s massive expenditures for the 2014 World Cup.

Rousseff’s main rivals are former environment minister Marina Silva of the Socialist Party and Social Democrat Aecio Neves.

The runoff will held on October 26 if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote.

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