Patra Banks

The reason for protests

Brazil is facing rising turmoil with the political scandals that have caused for a vote to impeach the president, Dilma Rouseff and with the rise of an economic recession.  In Itaborai, construction of a huge oil refinery project, Petrobras, has been ceased due to bribery in the contracts leaving several workers unemployed. Brazil is currently facing the deepest recession since 1930, and it is the central point of the Zika virus, which is known to cause birth defects and in rare cases, paralysis. If travelers contract Zika virus, the result of babies being born with brain damages will increase. Rio Public Metro Transit recently threatened to strike unless they receive a pay raise.

Current events

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games dates from August 5th to 21st with over 200 nations competing and more than 11,000 participants. The Olympic torch arrived in Rio de Janeiro by boat after a three-month tour of Brazilian cities. The arrival of the Olympic torch in Rio De Janeiro was met by hundreds of protesters who demonstrated anger at the high cost of hosting the Games. Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio, carried the torch into the city centre on Tuesday, August 2. Some Brazilian protestors were spotted carrying a banner that said “While the torch passes lit in Itaborai, jobs, health and education are put out”. In Sao Goncalo, protesters chanted threats to put out the Olympic torch while holding a banner pictured with the Olympic rings with the phrase “exclusion games”. National Force agents had to cancel a torch ceremony in the town, moving participants to the area of a local police station to continue the torch’s journey. A third protest was sparked in Niteroi as the torch moved closer to Rio. Riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse crowds of about 200 people. Last week, protestors succeeded in putting out the torch in a protest in the town of Angra dos Reis.


Twelve Brazilians were arrested after pledging allegiance to ISIL and plotting an attack on the Games. The group planned on stages of attack and arrests occurred over 10 different states to arrest all members. Chaer Kalaoun, a Brazilian citizen, was arrested recently in a suburb in Rio De Janeiro for his alleged contacts with terrorist groups since 2014.

Security in Rio

Security in Rio has been amped up for the Olympic games. Rio’s elite police units are considered more battle-tested than their counterparts in major American cities. Police units have suspended all vacations and leaves and all officers will be deployed to street patrol. Brazilian security forces revealed at least four individuals featured on the international alert list were denied access to Olympics. Doubling the number of security forces on the streets and enhancing military capabilities will help lower the risk of criminal activities at the Olympic games. Additional security checkpoints have been set into place.

Steps to Take to Survive a Riot

  1. If you are aware a riot is going to occur, prepare your home and your family
  2. You must remain calm- This is one of the main steps of surviving a riot; you must assess a situation and remain calm at all times
  3. Keep all loved ones’ close- Make sure those who are with you do not wander or get lost during a riot to ensure everyone’s safety
  4. Do not get involved- Getting involved in a riot will only cause you to put yourself in a more harmful situation
  5. Move into a safe area- During a riot, there may be weapons involved so remain as far away as possible

Tips along with these to provide safe travels on your trip to Rio 2016 are listed in our previous blog on safety tips for the 2016 Olympics.

MSA will continue to monitor the Olympic Games. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for urgent information and the latest updates.


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