Washed Up Body Parts, Police Turmoil Plague Rio Before Olympics

The games kick off in Rio de Janeiro in just five weeks.

ByMorgan Winsor
June 30, 2016, 1:57 PM
PHOTO: Civil police officers threatening to go on strike demonstrate against the government for arrears in their salary payments, in Rio de Janeiro, June 27, 2016.
Civil police officers threatening to go on strike demonstrate against the government for arrears in their salary payments, in Rio de Janeiro, June 27, 2016.
Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

— -- With just five weeks to go until the Olympic Games open in Rio de Janeiro, the security situation in the Brazilian city is deteriorating by the day.

A dismembered foot and other human body parts were spotted on the shore of Rio’s famous Copacabana beach near the Olympic beach volleyball venue. The mutilated parts had washed up on the sand, police told the Associated Press, offering no further details. This could not be independently confirmed by ABC News.

Two days earlier, Francisco Dornelles, the acting governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, warned that the Olympic Games could be a “big failure” due to budget shortfalls. Brazil aims to have 85,000 security agents on the streets for the Olympics, one of the largest policing operations in the history of the games. But Dornelles said Monday the federal government has not yet provided the state with the $860 million earmarked for security efforts.

"I am optimistic about the games, but I have to show the reality. We can make a great Olympics, but if some steps are not taken, it can be a big failure," Dornelles told Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

Angry members of law enforcement protested against budget cuts and unpaid wages on Monday, with some greeting arrivals at Rio’s international airport with a sign that read in English, “Welcome to Hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid; Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”

Rio’s security forces are so short on funds, some officers are asking for handouts. The civil police, who oversee investigations while the military police handle patrols, said in a statement that "some stations" are receiving donated office supplies, according to the AP.

Meanwhile, 10 people have been killed and about 50 schools have been closed over the past several days because of shootings in the host city’s slums -- shootings triggered by police attempts to catch a drug trafficker who escaped from a Brazilian hospital, according to O Globo.

In Rio, 2,036 people have been killed in the first four months of this year, compared to 1,818 for the same period last year, according to a state tally that totals homicides, officer-involved killings and deaths as a result of robberies.

As Brazil grapples with a security crisis, Latin America’s largest economy and its political system is tanking. The economy shrunk by another 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2016, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of negative growth, the country’s government statistics agency said in a report released on June 1.

Brazil’s Senate President Renan Calheiros told journalists Wednesday the final vote in President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment trial was scheduled for around Aug. 20, a day before the Olympic Games closing ceremony, according to Reuters.

Rousseff is accused of using state funds to help win re-election. If Brazil’s first woman leader is found guilty, she will be permanently replaced by her former deputy, interim President Michel Temer.

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