I wrote earlier of my concerns for youth attending World Youth Day 2013 in Rio. My concerns haven’t abated, but today I found out that Brazil is ramping up its security coverage during the event. An estimated 2 million visitors are expected (down from 3 millions earlier) in Rio July 23-28. Pope Francis will be in Rio from July 25 through July 28. This is a huge deal for Catholics, especially those in South America. The head of the Universal Church is coming to Rio.
Pope Francis is also head of state, however, which means he requires the best protection that Brazil can deploy. According to reports, Brazil will deploy extra security for the pope’s visit, including some 20,000 policemen/policewomen, and 8,500 to 12,000 soldiers.
Security forces will also have resources such as armed helicopters, at least two F-4M supersonic fighters, light-attack A-29 Super Tucano airplanes, and several surveillance aircraft.
Armed and armored troop transportation units will be distributed discretely, without interfering with the route planned for the day of the pope’s visit. The Navy Command will oversea sea control operations. And personnel from the Galeao Air Base are in charge of air security.
Sounds pretty good to me.
According to my local sources in Rio, the mayor of Rio has said that schools will be closed, and that anyone who can should vacate the city, going to their beach or country homes, to alleviate unnecessary traffic. The problem is, most of the locals want to see the pope, as well.
How not? The first pope from South America? And a man who has already shown himself to be cut from a different cloth? A man of the poor and the voiceless? I understand why they might stay for the furor.
If the pope does indeed come to Sao Paulo, as is rumored, I’d consider braving the crowds myself. For Francis, I just might.