Security Update: Fifa World CupJune 19, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Security is defined as the state of being free from danger or threat. There were a few incidents yesterday, but none of them actually threatened anyone. Miss Bumbum’s incursion in Portugal’s practice (with press credentials) hardly presents much to worry about. The 80-odd ticketless Chilean fans who forced their way into the Maracana stadium through the media centre present a fault in access control but didn’t necessarily pose a threat, other than crowding. The key here is to recognise the threats to personal security and the threats to organisers’ reputations. So far, there haven’t been many reports of spectators running into trouble because the organisers have managed to keep trouble away from them. Of course, away from the stadia, there are the usual tourist traps and petty crime but that is the same in any sizeable city, more so in country with such a wealth gradient. Just remember to keep your valuables out of site and don’t wander off at night into unfamiliar areas that are poorly lit and poorly policed.
Despite a lack of success, protestors continue to march against the World Cup. Yesterday, 3 people were injured at protest in Porto Alegre and today, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued an advisory for the England match this evening in Sao Paulo (17C, 88% humidity, chance of rain) where protests are expected.
The other two games today are in Natal (30C, 94% humidity, slight chance of rain) and Brasilia (27C, 77% humidity, clear skies). Natal has seen very heavy rain recently and also had to deal with transportation strikes so include a buffer when planning your route to the stadium. Brasilia had the issue with not enough security staff turning up for work for the Swiss game earlier in the week so expect long queues and get there early to avoid disappointment.
Brazil World Cup Travel Advisory: Brasilia, Natal and Sao PauloJune 19, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Brasília is the federal capital of Brazil and the capital of the Federal District. The city is located along the Brazilian Highlands in the country’s central-west region. In 2013, Brasília had an estimated population of 2,789,761, effectively making it the 4th most populous city in Brazil.
The city has a unique status in Brazil as it is an administrative division rather than a legal municipality, like other cities in the country. The centers of all three branches of Brazil’s federal government are located in Brasília, including Congress, the President and the Supreme Court. The city also hosts 124 foreign embassies.
Brasília International Airport connects the capital to all the major Brazilian cities and to many international destinations.
Brasília has significant crime problems. Reports of residential burglaries continue to occur in the generally affluent residential areas of the city. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report the highest crime rates, however incidents can occur anywhere and at any time.
The “satellite cities,” which surround Brasília have per-capita crime rates that are comparable to much larger cities. Police reports have indicated that over the past two years, rates of all types of crime, including kidnappings, have risen dramatically in Brasília. Brasília’s Central Bus Station, known as “Rodoviaria,” is a particularly dangerous area, especially at night. This location is known to have a large concentration of drug dealers and users.
Illegal drugs such as crack cocaine and “oxi,” which is a derivative of cocaine base that is produced with cheaper chemicals, have become very common in the “Plano Piloto” area and in satellite cities.
The Brasília – Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport serves the metropolitan area with major domestic and international flights. It is serviced by domestic and regional airlines, including TAM, GOL, Azul, WebJET, Trip and Avianca, as well as a number of international carriers.
The airport is located about 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) from the central area of Brasília and is outside the metro system. The area located outside the airport’s main gate is lined with taxis as well as with several bus line services that connect the airport to Brasília’s central district.
Metro de Brasília is Brasília’s underground metro system. The subway system in the capital city has twenty-four stations on two lines, the Orange and Green lines, which are distributed along a total network of 42 kilometers (26 miles) that covers some of the metropolitan area. Both lines begin at the Central Station running parallel to the Aguas Claras Station.
High Speed Rail
Although a high-speed railway was initially planned between Brasília and Goiania, which is the capital of the state of Goias. The service will probably be turned into a regional service that will link these capital cities and cities that are located in between, such as Anapolis and Alexania.
The main bus station in Brasília is the Central Bus Station, which is located in the crossing of the Eixo Monumental and the Eixao, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Three Powers Plaza.
Natal is the capital and largest city of Rio Grande do Norte, a northeastern state in Brazil.
While the city of Natal was once safe, recent statistics have indicated that crime is on the rise, however it Natal is safer than other touristic cities in the northeast of Brazil, including Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador.
While pickpocketing is common, violent assaults in the city are rare.
If visiting the Forte dos Reis Magos, MS Risk recommends that you travel by taxi and avoid walking along the Praia Forte. This is due to a recent surge in assaults and robberies that have targeted tourists along the beach. Ponta Negra beach is also not secure, with armed assaults on the beach occurring at any time, including day and night.
MS Risk advises all travellers to the beach to avoid taking any valuable articles with you.
Augusto Severo International Airport in Parnamirim is located 18 kilometers (9 miles) from Natal.
Federal Highway BR-101 is the most important access to Natal, coming from the south of Brazil through the boundary with the municipality of Parnamirim. If travelling from the State of Ceará, the principle access is by the Federal Highway BR-304, through the boundary with the municipality of Macaíba, where you pick up BR-226.
When leaving Natal, an important access to the southern Potiguar coast is the RN-063, which is also known as the “Sun Route” (Rota do Sol). This route takes you to the beaches of Pirangi, Búzios, Tabatinga, and up to the municipality of Nísia Floresta. The North Shore is accessible from the Newton Navarro Bridge, following the Praia do Forte to Genipabu, and the Igapó Bridge, following the district of Igapó by BR-101 to Touros, and by BR-406 to Macau.
Natal is connected to all the 167 municipalities of Rio Grande do Norte, along with dozens of locations and Potiguar districts, through the Passenger Bus Terminal of Natal, which is located in the Eastern zone of the city.
Taxis in Rio de Janeiro are white and have red plates. Fares are the same, regardless of how new and comfortable the car is. Fares are regulated by the government.
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and is the capital of the state of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state.
All the greater areas of São Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery, with pedestrians and drivers being targeted at traffic lights and during rush hour traffic.
The “red light districts” of São Paulo, which are located on Rua Augusta north of Avenida Paulista and the Estacao de Luz metro area, are especially dangerous as there are regular reports of young women slipping various drugs into men’s drinks and robbing them of all their belongings while they are unconscious.
Armed holdups of pedestrians and motorists by young men on motorcycles are a common occurrence in São Paulo. Recently, criminals have begun targeting restaurants throughout the city. Such incidents have especially occurred between the hours of 10PM and 4 AM, at establishments in the upscale neighborhoods of Jardins, Itaim, Bibi, Campo Belo, Morumbi and Moema.
Laptop computers, other electronica and luxury watches are the targets of choice for criminals in São Paulo.
Efforts by incarcerated drug lords to exert their power outside of their jail cells have in the past resulted in sporadic disruptions throughout the city, with violence being directed at the authorities, and including bus burnings and vandalism at ATM machines, including the use of explosives. MS Risk advises travellers to São Paulo to be aware of your surroundings and to exercise caution at all times. You are also advised to respect police roadblocks and be aware that some municipal services may be disrupted.
As in Rio de Janeiro, favela tours have recently become popular amongst foreign tourists in São Paulo. MS Risk advises against travelling to São Paulo’s favelas as neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety.
São Paulo has two main airports: São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport for international flights and Congonhas- São Paulo Airport for domestic and regional flights. Another airport, the Campo de Marte Airport serves only light aircraft.
São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport is located 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of the city center in the neighboring city of Guarulhos.
Despite heavy traffic being common in the city’s main avenues, and with traffic jams relatively common its highways, automobiles are still the main means to get into the city.
The city is crossed by ten major highways:
- Rodovia Presidente Dutra/BR-116 (President Dutra Highway): Which connects São Paulo to the east and northeast of the country. The most important connection is with Rio de Janeiro.
- Rodovia Régis Bittencourt/BR-116 (Régis Bittencourt Highway): Connects São Paulo to the south of the country, with the most important connections being Curitiba and Porto Alegre.
- Rodovia Fernão Dias/BR-381 (Fernão Dias Highway): Connects São Paulo to the north of the country, with the important connection being Belo Horizonta
- Rodovia Anchieta/SP-150 (Anchieta Highway): Connects São Paulo to the ocean coast. This highway is mainly used for cargo transportation to Santos Port. The most important connection is Santos.
- Rodovia dos Imigrantes/SP-150 (Immigrants Highway): Connects São Paulo to the ocean coast. This highway is mainly used for tourism. Most important connections include Santos, São Paulo, Guarujá and Praia Grande
- Rodovia Castelo Branco/SP-280 (President Castelo Branco Highway): Connects São Paulo to the west and north-west of the country. Most important connections include Osasco, Sorocaba, Bauru, Jaú and Campo Grande
- Rodovia Raposo Tavares/SP-270 (Raposo Tavares Highway): Connects São Paulo to the west of the country. Most important connections include Cotia, Sorocaba, Presidente Prudente.
- Rodovia Anhangüera/SP-330 (Anhanguera Highway): Connects São Paulo to the north-west of the country, including its capital city. Most important connections are Campinas, Ribeirão Preto and Brasília.
- Rodovia dos Bandeirantes/SP-348 (Bandeirantes Highway): Which connects São Paulo to the north-west of the country. It is considered the best motorway of Brazil. Most important connections are Campinas, Ribeirão Preto, Piracicaba and São José do Rio Preto.
- Rodovia Ayrton Senna/SP-70 (Ayrton Senna Highway): This highway connects São Paulo to the eastern locations of the state as well as the north coast of the state. The most important connections are São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, São José dos Campos and Caraguatatuba.
The two major railway stations in São Paulo are Luz and Julio Prestes in the Luz/Campos Eliseos region. Julio Prestes connects southwest São Paulo State and northern Paraná State to São Paulo. Luz Station has an underground station and has east and westbound suburban trains that link São Paulo to the Greater São Paulo region to the East and the Campinas Metropolitan region in Jundiaí in the western part of the State.
São Paulo has three rapid transport systems: the underground rail system has five lines; the suburban rail system, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) has six lines that serve many regions that are not reached by the underground system; and the fast-lane bus system, in which there are many bus lines throughout the city.
The Metro in São Paulo has been affected by a strike which is now threatening the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament. Although late on Monday 9 June, Union leaders suspended a five-day strike that has paralyzed the city, workers indicated that they would vote on Wednesday on whether to resume the walkout.
Bus transport, both government and private, is composed of approximately 17,000 buses. São Paulo Tietê Bus Terminal is the second largest bus terminal in the world and serves localities across the nation, with the exception of the states of Amazona, Roraima and Amapá. Routes to 1,010 cities in five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile Paraguay and Uruguay) are available.
The Palmeiras-Barra Funda Intermodal Terminal is smaller and is connected to the Palmeiras-Barra Funda metro and the Palmeiras-Barra Funda CPTM stations. It seves the southern cities of Sorocaba, Itapetininga, Itu, Botucatu, Bauru, Marília, Jaú, Avaré, Piraju, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, Ipaussu, Chavantes and Ourinhos (on the border with Paraná State). It also serves São José do Rio Preto, Araçatuba and other small towns located on the northwest of São Paulo State.
Security Update: Fifa World CupJune 18, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
No big news today regarding the security of the World Cup, this is despite the media’s best efforts to blow everything out of proportion to make a good story. The ‘storming of gates’ by Argentine fans at the Maracana in Rio turned out to be 30 people, all but one of whom were caught by the second layer of security. There have been shortfalls in manpower, notably in Brasilia on Sunday but FIFA has been saying to show up early to avoid disappointment, this advice had not been heeded. Although it has been a slow news day, the fear of protest still remains. Here’s a short video about what the Brazilian Forces have done to prepare and what expect if the event does go sour: Telegraph Security Video
It seems my capacity to predict the weather is similar to a Russian goalkeeper’s ability to catch a ball kicked square at his chest. (If you missed the reference watch it here). Although I do maintain that one should be prepared for heavy rain with little warning, be prepared to get completely soaked very quickly.
Today’s games are in Rio (30C with a small chance of rain), Manaus (30C with a small chance of rain), and Porto Alegre (clear and 15C). Expect protests in Rio especially around Copacabana, where the fan village is, and as near to the Maracana stadium as they protesters can get (3-5km). One big difference between protestors and security forces is that the former don’t tend to come out in force in foul weather so if it does rain, the likelihood of protest drops significantly, probably because it’s harder to light the rag at the top of the Molotov cocktail…
Remember to keep your wits about you and get to the stadium early to account for long security queues to get in. There is also a likelihood of a long walk to the stadium, the last time I was at The Maracana it took over 30min just to walk to the stadium from the drop off point and the security cordon has been widened since then. Keep your valuables safe and out of sight; an expensive watch makes you a target, not the subject of admiration.
Militants Carryout Attack Against Football Supporters in Northern NigeriaJune 18, 2014 in Nigeria
Police and residents reported Tuesday that an explosion ripped through a football viewing centre in Damaturu, northern Nigeria, as fans were gathering to watch a World Cup game.
The blast, which occurred at the Crossfire venue, in the Nayi-Nawa area of the state capital of Yobe, occurred shortly after the tournament began at 8:00 PM (1900 GMT). Unconfirmed reports have indicated that a suicide bomber has killed at least twenty-one people and wounded twenty-seven. Sanusi Ruf’ai, police commissioner for Yobe state, confirmed the attack, stating “there was an explosion outside a soccer viewing center here in Damaturu at around 8:15 PM….Our men have deployed to the scene but it’s too early for us to give details.” On the ground sources have reported that the area has been cordoned off and that police and soldiers are investigating, while eyewitnesses have indicated that the suicide bomber, who was in a tricycle taxi, detonated explosives as people were watching the match. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, suspicions have fallen on Boko Haram, as the militant group has previously targeted big screen venues showing soccer matches.
The latest blast comes after at least two Nigerian states banned viewing centers on security grounds following previous similar attacks, which have been blamed on Boko Haram militants. Last week, authorities in Adamawa state closed viewing centers, where large crowds gather to watch the matches on large screens. The central state of Plateau followed suit days later. The decision by authorities to close the viewing centers is in response to repeated threats by the militant group and a blast that occurred earlier this month. A bomb went off after a football match in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state. The incident killed at least forty people. In May, three people were killed in a blast outside a viewing center that was showing the European Champions League final in the city of Jos, the capital of Plateau state, while in April, suspected Boko Haram gunmen stormed a packed venue in Potiskum, in northeastern Yobe state, shooting dead two people as they watched the Champions League quarter-final matches.
Boko haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau has previously preached against football and has threated to carry out attacks during this year’s World Cup football tournament. In several video clips, he described football and music as a Western ploy to distract Muslims from their religion. While football is Nigeria’s national sport, and has many followers, many residents living in the northern regions of the country have indicated that they will watch the World Cup at home because of fears of Boko Haram attacks.
Similar fears have also put a number of east African nations on high alert amidst fears that Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked-al-Shabaab will carryout similar attacks during football screenings.
Earlier this week, officials in Britain released warnings to citizens in several east African nations, including Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, warning of the threat of terrorist attacks at public screenings of the World Cup games. A statement released by Britain’s Foreign Office indicated “previous terrorist attacks in the region have targeted places where football matches are being viewed,” adding that crowded areas, including “transport hubs, hotels, restaurants and bars” are possible targets for the militant group.
Security Update: Fifa World CupJune 17, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
Fourteen games into the World Cup Finals and no serious incidents.
The big story yesterday was the weather, particularly the heavy rain in Natal that saw a month’s rain in the previous 48hrs causing flash flooding and landslides. Further heavy rains are forecast for many of the host cities in the coming week so don’t get caught out.
There haven’t been any serious security incidents concerning fans reported since the Finals got underway. There were several protests reported and the response by the police remains heavy handed. The escalation of force from verbal warnings, to tear gas, to non-lethal firearms can be rapid and dramatic. We strongly recommend avoiding these situations and leaving at the first sign of trouble.
Today’s games are in Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, and Cuiaba. Brazil vs Mexico will be a lively match. There’s no trouble anticipated anywhere but there is some heavy weather anticipated in Fortaleza and Cuiaba to be ready to get wet.