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IOC's Rogge says he trusts Brazil on Games security

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge walks from the podium after delivering a speech at the torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia October 22, 2009. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (Reuters) - Brazil will find ways to ensure the safety of Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympics, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge said on Thursday, after an outbreak of violence raised questions over the Games’ security.

Thirty-three people have died since violence between rival gangs of drug traffickers erupted in Rio at the weekend.

The city was awarded the 2016 Olympics two weeks earlier following a campaign that played down security problems and portrayed a joyful city of beaches and Carnival celebrations.

“Security arrangements of the Games have always been very strong...we are confident that the Brazilians will find good ways to do that,” Rogge told Reuters on the margins of the torch-lighting ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

“We still have seven years of time to prepare, we will benefit also from the experience and the new measures being taken for the (soccer) World Cup in 2014, so I will say we have to trust the Brazilians to do that.”

On Monday, Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered nearly $60 million in federal money to help the city’s police combat drug gangs.

Seven suspected drug traffickers, killed by Rio police on Wednesday, brought the number of deaths since Saturday to 33. Three police officers, killed when their helicopter was shot down, and three residents caught in cross-fire were also among the dead.

“Violence is something that we have been concerned with since 1972 in Munich,” Rogge said, referring to the killings of 11 Israelis by Palestinian militants at the Munich Olympics.

The torch relay for the Vancouver Games got underway smoothly on Thursday, with none of the human rights protests that marred the Beijing 2008 torch-lighting ceremony.

Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Clare Fallon. To query or comment on this story email