Lula vows Rio Olympics will be violence free

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva vowed Wednesday to give special attention to Rio de Janeiro to make sure the city will not see violence during its hosting of the 2016 Olympic Games.
"We have a moral, political and ethical obligation to take special care of Rio de Janeiro" to avoid any type of violence and to put on "the best Olympics," he said as he opened a sports area in one of the city's slums.

Lula vows Rio Olympics will be violence free
His pledge came in the wake of days of clashes between criminal gangs and police in several of Rio's slums that left 47 people dead and a police helicopter shot down.
Lula said he wanted to show the criminals that "they are taking liberty from people who want to work honestly, and who represent 99.9 percent of Rio's population."
Urging social solidarity, he said: "We have to avoid seeing in Rio de Janeiro what happened over the past few days, when violence ruled."
Lula admitted that drugs trafficking, blamed for brutality of the slums' gangs, was "a reality" that has long plagued Rio.
He also said Brazil needed a sporting strategy to stop "gringos" -- a neutral term in the country for foreigners -- from coming along and sweeping up all the medals at the Olympics.
Key to that was preparing youths who would be of prime athletic age when 2016 rolled around, he said.
He added that the country's sporting federations were also being asked to help chart that course and set goals.
That position was reinforced by Brazil's relatively poor performance at the Beijing Olympics last year, when the country -- population 195 million and known for its soccer and volleyball players -- grabbed just 15 medals, only three of them gold.

Wednesday, October 28th 2009

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