“This is the most serious issue in Rio and the state is doing a terrible, horrible job,” Eduardo Paes told CNN, during an interview in his downtown office.
His comments come after Rio de Janeiro state, which manages the region’s military police force, issued an executive order requesting emergency funds from the federal government in order to pay outstanding bonuses and overtime to police officers.
The state’s police officers vented their anger last week with a sign saying “Welcome to Hell” outside Rio airport. “Police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe,” the sign said.
Spate of crime
Several international TV crews, including two German broadcasters, which had a truck with more than $400,000 worth of equipment hijacked at gunpoint, have also been robbed.
The Justice Ministry said 85,000 additional officers, including police from other states and military personnel, will be arriving to the city in late July and patrolling throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“(During the Games) the army, the navy, everyone is going to be here,” Paes said. “Fortunately the state will not be responsible for security during that period.”
Mayor: Zika threat ‘overestimated’
“At this time, if you are American, please don’t go to Florida. You have more cases of Zika in Florida now than we have in Rio,” he said.
According to health officials, the risk of Zika transmission is much lower during Brazil’s winter, when the Games will be held.
However, the World Health Organization still advises women who are pregnant to limit travel to the region and those traveling there to take special precautions to avoid contact with mosquitoes, including wearing long sleeves and pants and using repellent.