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Lula accelerates investment to improve security in Rio de Janeiro

October 28th, 2009

2016_olympics_rio_logoThe government of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Tuesday it would release funds to fight crime in Rio de Janeiro earlier than originally planned ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

‘If the rhythm of investment in public security were to stay as it is, we would not get to 2016 in a satisfactory situation, said Brazilian Justice Minister Tarso Genro, noting the government needs to work three times as fast to reach its goal.

Rio de Janeiro was picked earlier this month as the host of the 2016 Olympics, the first Olympic Games ever to take place in South America.

Genro met with Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral Tuesday to evaluate the serious violence that has taken place in the city since October 17, when drug gangs fighting for control of the favela, or slum, Morro dos Macacos brought down a police helicopter and killed three officers.

Clashes between criminals and police have claimed at least 47 lives since then, including at least five people believed to be civilians with no connections to the drug trade.

Genro said the Rio de Janeiro state government is ‘on the right path’ in its policy to combat crime, and he praised police for having thrown the drug gangs out of five favelas in the city, including Cidade de Deus, which was made world-famous following Fernando Meirelles’ film City of God.

‘We have to keep going and to accelerate implementation,’ Genro said.

He announced the release of 75 million dollars for police pacifying efforts in the favelas.

Cabral said that Rio authorities are working to ‘build a great policy that offers citizens, by 2016, a different public security panorama.’

The favela Morro dos Macacos – at the centre of recent violence – is about 2 kilometres from Maracana Stadium, which is set to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Games.

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