International

Brazil sees SWC risks: report

2014-03-20 10:52
SWC 2014 (File)

Rio de Janeiro - A secret Brazilian government report lists several security "risks" in having the country host of the Soccer World Cup this year, including political protest and strikes, O Globo daily said on Wednesday.

The office of President Dilma Rousseff said the undated report was "preliminary," not conclusive and merely the result of "informal consultation" with local people in cities due to host the June-July event.

The document indicated security concerns in six of the 12 host cities, including July 13 final venue Rio de Janeiro, where it identified "a difficult relationship between public authorities and society."

Rio authorities are battling to bolster security in the city by increasing police presence in tourist areas while also ramping up a six-year-old policy of "pacifying" the city's sprawling slums.

The report also highlighted as a "potential problem" a 60-million-reais ($25 million) cut in the military police budget for business hub Sao Paulo, due to host the Cup's opening match.

O Globo said another concern was Porto Alegre, the scene of a strike by lorry drivers that authorities fear could spread beyond the southern city.

In the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte, authorities fear that a strike by civil servants may "fuel protests" of the kind that hit the city and several other major venues during June's Confederations Cup.

Angry Brazilians have taken to the street to protest the $11 billion World Cup price tag, poor public services and government corruption.

Although they have been on a smaller scale than last year, when more than a million people took to the streets, some of the demonstrations have ended in violence.

Another concern, according to the report, is the capital Brasilia, where "opposition parties are attempting to wreck the image" of Governor Agnelo Queiroz of the ruling Workers' Party.

The report also expressed concerns over the security of teams and foreign visitors during the month-long Cup, while the government further fears unrest between indigenous groups and agricultural workers in the northeast.

But an official in the presidential office said: "The information published in the newspaper is not official and has not been verified."

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