Brazil Olympic chief urges protesters not to mar opening ceremony

The first Summer Olympics ever staged in South America open on August 5 in Rio`s Maracana Stadium.

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 07, 2016, 08:59 AM IST
Brazil Olympic chief urges protesters not to mar opening ceremony

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil`s Olympics chief on Monday urged protesters angry over the impeachment of suspended president Dilma Rousseff not to mar the opening ceremony of the Rio Games in two months.

The first Summer Olympics ever staged in South America open on August 5 in Rio`s Maracana Stadium.

According to latest estimates, that could be just a few days after a vote in the Senate over whether to remove Rousseff from office -- marking a showdown in a months-long political crisis that has divided the country and sparked accusations of a coup d`etat.

Asked if he was afraid that crowds would start chanting political slogans or causing trouble inside the famous football stadium during the opening parade and lighting of the Olympic cauldron, Rio Games chief Carlos Nuzman told reporters: "It`s difficult to know what will or won`t happen."

However, he said he thought that Brazilians would "show respect for the Olympic Games themselves and for the 11,000 athletes who will be parading."

Nuzman, chairman of the organizing committee racing to finish preparations, was speaking outside a conference in Rio where officials briefed consular representatives on progress.

Nuzman said that 70 percent of tickets to the Olympics had been sold, but he admitted that sales for the Paralympics which follow in September were "definitely low."

He was unable to give an exact figure, but said those tickets should sell better once the Olympics were over.

Rousseff, suspended last month for her impeachment trial, is accused of taking illegal loans to plug holes in the state budget during her narrow reelection win in 2014. She says the fiscal maneuvers were standard practice and that the impeachment process has been engineered to oust her and end the 13-year dominance of her leftist Workers` Party.

There is no information about plans to stage demonstrations during the Olympics.

However, Rousseff supporters have been vocal at numerous protests against the new government of interim president, Michel Temer, who was vice president under Rousseff but turned against her and now stands to remain in the presidency until 2018 if she is ejected.

Some 85,000 police and soldiers are due to be deployed in Rio during the Olympics, double the number used during the 2012 London Olympics.