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Brazil judge orders reopening of Rio Olympic sites despite safety concerns

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

A Brazilian court has ordered a host of 2016 Rio Olympic Games facilities closed two weeks ago over safety concerns be re-opened, Rio de Janiero's mayor's office told AFP.

The facilities were closed on January 16 following a request from the Rio prosecutor's office, which complained it had not seen safety certificates for the venues.

"The Olympic park at Barra da Tijuca and the one at Deodoro were re-opened on Tuesday," the mayor's office told AFP late on Wednesday night.

The Rio Games -- the first to be held in South America -- were heavily criticized for their extreme costs, estimated around $12.5 billion, and corruption scandals that surrounded the construction sites.

Brazil's canoe team has resumed training at the Deodoro site, around 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the world famous Copacabana beach.

The Olympic swimming pool will be "opened to the public on Sunday," said local authorities.

Public prosecutor Leandro Mitidieri had petitioned a judge to close the facilities because they had never obtained proper safety certificates.

The judge said the decision was to "preserve the security of the population," noting that thousands of people regularly went to the venues for concerts or exhibitions.

Rio's mayor's office appealed the ruling, and an appeal court ruled on Tuesday that the sites should be re-opened provisionally pending an examination of the case.

The Rio Olympic Park at Barra de Tijuca hosted the Rock in Rio festival in September, which welcomed 700,000 visitors over a week of concerts.

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