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Rio forms special police battalion for big events

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm •  Published: January 7, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A special police battalion has been created to help control violent demonstrations expected during the upcoming World Cup and other large sporting and cultural events held in public venues, the Rio de Janeiro state government has announced.

Rio de Janeiro's state police department Tuesday said in an e-mailed statement that the battalion is composed of about 500 specially trained officers recruited from police units statewide.

The statement said that the battalion was part of the "preparations for the 2014 World Cup and for the Olympic Games of 2016 that will take place in Rio de Janeiro."

The battalion has been in service for the past three months but the Public Safety Department officially announced its creation on Monday in the state's official gazette.

Rio's Maracana stadium will host seven World Cup games including the July 13 final.

Last June, violent protests erupted around Brazil against bus fare hikes, corruption, poor public services and the billions of dollars being spent on the World Cup and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. At least six people died in connection with the protests, and Rio saw some of the most violent ones.

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