Brazil will increase the number of soldiers patrolling the streets of Rio de Janeiro during next month's Olympic Games in response to a crime wave, the country's interim defence minister said Wednesday.
Raul Jungmann said that a rash of armed robberies and deadly shootings on busy thoroughfares in recent weeks had prompted Rio de Janeiro state Governor Francisco Dornelles to ask the military for more help keeping the Olympic and Paralympic Games safe.
More than 21,000 soldiers will assist civil and military police units to protect expressways, the Olympic Village and other Olympic routes in Rio de Janeiro, he said, 3,000 more than originally planned.
Rio has struggled to prepare for the August 5-21 Olympic and September 7-18 Paralympic Games amid a dire financial crisis in the state and one of Brazil's worst recessions ever.
Fears of violent crime have now piled onto existing concerns about terrorist attacks at the Games. The Zika virus has prompted some athletes to stay home. And a 2.8-billion-dollar subway expansion intended to ease circulation at the Games is still not completed.
Dornelles said last week that without more cash the Olympics risked "failure."
Brazil's government gave Rio a 2.90-billion-real (785-million-euro) bailout June 30, which will be used to pay security forces and buy fuel for police cars, among other expenditures.