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Rio asks to keep Brazil national security forces past Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro will try to convince Brazil’s government to leave in place indefinitely the national security force that protected the Olympics to cut down on crime amid a budget crisis, state public safety secretary Jose Mariano Beltrame said on Thursday.

Brazil deployed some 85,000 police and troops, or roughly twice the number at London’s Olympic Games in 2012, to protect locals and around 500,000 tourists who visited the Rio Games. The federal government also loaned 2.9 billion reais ($890 million) to cover security spending during the Olympics.

“We need to come together and integrate forces to confront the violence that is totally out of control,” Beltrame told a press conference. “The proof of what we can do together is there in the Olympics and other events.”

Troops are already staying through the Paralympic Games, which begin next week, and will reinforce security during Rio’s municipal elections next month.

Rio’s government declared a state of fiscal emergency in June as an economic crisis sent tax revenue plummeting, straining public services and triggering federal aid.

The latest data from Rio’s Public Safety Institute showed murders, violent robberies and carjackings rose in July from a year earlier.

Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier, editing by G Crosse