Rio organizers guarantee Olympic safety in wake of bus incident

Olympic organizers said Wednesday they remain determined to make Rio de Janeiro a safe place despite various incidents including an attack on an official media bus the previous day.

Organizers said that stones were thrown, and not firearms used - as stated by at least one passenger -, when the bus was hit in the Curicica area on its way back from the Deodoro venue cluster to the main media centre of the Games in Barra.

Two people were lightly injured as two windows were smashed. But it also appeared as if the driver did not act according to protocol and continue driving but rather stopped until police arrived.

"We don't regret saying that our mission is to make Rio the safest city in the world. If we drop the ball we need to get our act together and keep an eye on that mission of making Rio the safest city," organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada said.

"We can guarantee the safety of journalists, athletes and tourists. It is our prime responsibility," he said naming the incident "worrying and unfortunate."

Andrada also said the driver was not a volunteer but a professional driver.

Various incidents have been reported during the Games which are safeguarded by some 85,000 security forces.

On Wednesday another stray bullet was reportedly found at the equestrian venue, four days after a bullet hit the roof of the venue's media tent, with organizers also pleding a thorough investigation.

Rio 2016 security chief Luiz Fernando Correa said that some events are getting a lot of publicity as a certain crime rate was also normal for a big city.

"When you have a great city, a great metropolis, you always have some incidents, regardless of a big event or not," he said.

"We already have some signs of a decline in incidents of urban violence, due to the fact that we have a lot of police patrolling. We do have problems, we have issues, but any incident that involves any Olympics stakeholder has great repercussions."

Correa said the authorities consider the incident an act of vandalism rather than a deliberate attack, and acknowledged that security forces had heard of similar incidents before.

"We are talking about a densely populated urban area. It would be humanly impossible to have a perimeter. It was an act of vandalism, not a criminal act with the intention of injuring one person or another," he said.

Correa added that more patrols will be used in the area where Tuesday's incident occurred.

"Other than mobile patrolling, we are going to have a fixed team in position (where the incident took place) and additional measures that are being prepared. This area is under the control of the armed forces that gets help from security forces," he said.

Unrelated to the Olympics three policemen were injured later Wednesday when they came under gun fire in a favela in the northern part of Rio, the O Globo paper said on its website.

Last update: Wed, 10/08/2016 - 23:56
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