RIO DE JANEIRO – Soldiers were deployed on Wednesday to guard the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain, two of Rio de Janeiro’s main tourist attractions, two days before the 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony.
The Rio de Janeiro state government requested military assistance amid a growing number of tourists, a situation that forced officials to extend visiting hours at the sites.
The troops will provide security for the sites and soldiers will operate the metal detectors that all visitors must pass through, Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said.
Soldiers will also reinforce security at the stations where tourists board the trains to Corcovado and the cable car to the summit of Sugarloaf.
The deployment of military units at Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain was not initially covered by the law authorizing the use of soldiers during the Games along major highways and in Rio neighborhoods controlled by drug traffickers, but it was required by the circumstances.
The Brazilian Intelligence Agency, or ABIN, concluded that the two sites could be targeted by terrorists.
Security for the Olympic Games was tightened in recent weeks following the terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East, and the plan is the largest ever implemented in Brazil for a public event.
The plan calls for the deployment of 88,000 police officers, security guards and troops, including 41,000 members of the armed forces.