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French police train Brazil for Olympic crowd control

French riot police, accustomed to managing up to 10 public demonstrations a day, are training their Brazilian counterparts in anticipation of widespread public protests at the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in 2016.

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French anti-riot police have begun training their Brazilian counterparts ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, both of which are expected to provoke large demonstrations like those during the Confederation Cup held in Brazil in June, when millions protested against corruption and poor public services in the country.

“We are preparing ourselves early,” said Marcos Palermo, a Brazilian anti-riot police officer.

The Brazilian police force has come under criticism in the past for its violent handling of riots. With an average of up to 10 demonstrations a day in France, the French police are well positioned to run the training.

During Friday’s drills, FRANCE 24’s correspondent Delano D’Souza watched as several people posed as protesters, throwing tennis balls and coconuts at Rio’s anti-riot police  who, in turn, fired on the rioters with tear gas and rubber bullets.

French Police Captain Jean-Louis Savet explained that while Brazilian police did have experience working with security issues in the favelas, Rio de Janeiro’s crime-infested slums, the World Cup and the Olympics would present a different set of challenges.

“The way you work in the favelas is different from the way you work in large events,” Savet said.
 

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