So Far, So Good!June 16, 2014 in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update
The big security event in the last 24hrs was a ‘bomb’ alert around the stadium in Manaus in the mid-morning. Initial reports indicate that a police dog alerted authorities to an unattended vehicle during a routine sweep of the area. After about two hours on site, the bomb squad concluded that the dog detected a residue of gunpowder.
Concerning spectator security, there was an alleged rape of an American Woman in Cuiaba on Friday that occurred at a local residence after the spectators returned there after late night celebrations. In the same city, several muggings were reported during the after-match celebrations, mostly involving tourists. There is no panacea for these events however, taking efforts to avoid threatening environments where you are isolated and without escape routes is always advised and keep some emergency cash and a list of phone numbers and/or address for your hotel separate from your wallet or bag.
There was report of English fans starting a fight mid afternoon in Manaus but every other countries fans seem to be well behaved, even where Colombians outnumber Greeks 10 to 1 in Belo Horizonte. A protest took place in Belo Horizonte before the match, a good distance away from the stadium where the police reacted with resolve to prevent the situation from getting beyond control. Expect these events to continue for the benefit of media consumption but they will be dealt with swiftly to prevent disruption to the tournament and spectators.
The surprise upset of Costa Rica over the tournaments first winners, Uruguay, was met with only celebration in Fortaleza. The most violence seen so far was when Pereira was dealt a red card for Uruguay in the 93rd minute.
Reporting indicates transport is working well throughout the country. Although there was a strike Natal on Friday where only 30% of the buses were running but organisers pulled it together to get spectators to the game using school buses. In other places, Sao Paulo, Manaus, and elsewhere, public transport appears up to the task although it remains difficult at times.
Today’s matches are in Porto Alegre, Brasilia, and Rio De Janeiro at the legendary Maracanã. Porto Alegre is one of the smaller host cities but has good infrastructure to get around, the town centre can appear a bit seedy and it has had an issue with crime so advice concerning situational awareness remains extant. Brasilia and Rio, the capital and the former capital respectively, are both more than capable of hosting world-class events and have the same problems seen in any big city. Big stadiums are rarely found in affluent neighbourhoods so take transport to and from the game and don’t hang around in the rough areas for a drink afterwards.