Olympic Torch (AP)
Rio de Janeiro - A riot
during the Olympic torch relay cast a shadow over the Rio Games starting in
just over a week Thursday, marking a new low in a ritual that had been meant to
is nearing the end of a 300-city relay that will end with the lighting of the
Olympic flame in the Maracana stadium at the opening ceremony on August 5.
organizers portray the epic journey as a chance to ignite public enthusiasm,
repeated security incidents have turned the torch into a symbol of the
organizational glitches and social discontent overshadowing South America's
dos Reis, a coastal resort south of Rio, crowds angry over lack of public
transport and nearly bankrupt Rio state's late payment of salaries fought with
police at the torch parade late Wednesday.
broadcast on Globo television and social media showed riot police responding
with rubber bullets and tear gas, while the crowd chanted "put out the
torch, put out the torch!"
after repeated attempts in other cities to douse the torch with fire
extinguishers or buckets of water.
reels of other torch mishaps have gone viral online, including runners falling
over, a police motorbike crashing into the parade, a man attempting to seize
the torch, and political protests.
In June, a
rare, captive jaguar -- the same animal chosen for Brazil's Olympic mascot --
was shot dead after escaping handlers at a torch ceremony.
arrive, controversies mount
better news for Rio organizers in the arrival overnight of Jamaica's Olympic
sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who hopes to defend his multiple gold medals.
black tracksuit with white stripes, sunglasses and headphones, Bolt was in a
hurry to leave the airport. "I didn't sleep on the flight," he told a
welcoming committee of journalists and officials.
controversial set of arrivals were expected later in the day, with some 70
Russian athletes from a team slashed by bans in a state-sponsored doping
scandal due to fly in at around 6:00 pm (2100 GMT).
organizers were also still racing to complete emergency repairs to the
athletes' Village, where some 19,000 team members will live.
Half of the
buildings had problems ranging from blocked toilets to faulty wiring when teams
began moving in over the weekend.
these glitches were expected to be ironed out by the end of Thursday, new
controversy was brewing over allegations by government labor inspectors that
the approximately 600 workers are being made to work nearly around the clock
without legal contracts.
security concerns have centered on Rio's rampant street crime, but authorities
last week arrested 12 men accused of forming a would-be jihadist terrorism
media reports said Thursday that another man in an apparently separate case has
been detained on suspicion of terrorism links.
Edson Ferreira, said the allegations lacked substance. "There is no basic
accusation, or complete accusation," he told Globo television.
nothing more than suspicions that he put posts on Facebook, that he posted
links related to Islamic State, but which have nothing concretely to do with
him. He has no link with Islamic State," the lawyer said.
officials have downplayed the seriousness of the group arrested last week,
calling them "amateur" and "disorganized."
the group are accused of discussing potential attacks, attempting to buy a
rifle online, and declaring allegiance to the Islamic State group via the