Viral 'Welcome to Hell': Angry Rio Cops Protest at Airport Ahead of Olympics
Disgruntled emergency responders welcomed travelers to Rio de Janeiro with a not-so-encouraging message ahead of the Summer Olympics.
"Welcome to Hell," blared a sign that was reportedly the work of Brazilian police and firefighters who say they are not being paid.
"Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe," the sign read.
Meantime, this spraypainted sign was seen outside the airport.
Welcome, we don't have hospitals! - “Aviso” na estrada do Galeão. (Foto: Tiago Bla) pic.twitter.com/NfnrEukkuT
— Cecília Olliveira (@Cecillia) June 26, 2016
The photos, which quickly spread on social media, are increasing the questions about whether the country is ready to host the Games, which kick off August 5.
Travelers and athletes are already jittery about the Zika virus, though the country's health minister declared this week there is "zero" risk for visitors.
Hundreds of police officers staged a strike Monday, protesting budget cuts which have left police departments without money for the basics, like gas for their vehicles.
The Guardian reported:
Brazil is suffering the worst recession in decades and Rio’s acting governor declared a state of financial disaster this month, largely to bolster spending on security as the world’s spotlight turns to the city.
“How are people going to feel protected in a city without security,” Gov Francisco Dornelles told Rio’s O Globo newspaper. “We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren’t taken, it can be a big failure.”
Rio state has slashed budgets across the board, including that of the police. Helicopters have been grounded and more than half of the civil police’s fleet of cars has been idled in a bid to save on gas. Even officers’ salaries have been delayed.
Some police stations are reportedly asking locals for donations to buy things like printer ink, pens and toilet paper.
Officials, however, insist that this will not affect security at the Olympics, emphasizing that a force of 85,000 police and soldiers - double the number at the London Games in 2012 - will be on patrol.