President of the WYD Committee Discusses the Recent Protests in Brazil
The Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro and president of the Local Organizing Committee for WYD Rio2013 spoke on Wednesday, June 19th, of the recent mass protests that have been occurring in Rio de Janeiro and other major Brazilian cities.
Archbishop Orani reiterated that, according to conversations he had with public authorities, the protests will not affect World Youth Day. He stated that “WYD is held in high esteem by all.”
For the Archbishop, the desire to build a better civilization that these young people are bringing to the streets “is in some ways similar to the spirit of WYD - the desire to work together for a new world, for a new life, a new society. Catholic youth also have these same hopes and dreams, and they keep Christ in their hearts.”
“WYD is a positive event for young people. Youth who have values - Christian values, values that also seek to change the world and are rooted in justice and peace, and that can offer a different perspective on these demands for change here in Brazil,” Archbishop Orani continued.
The protests began a few weeks ago in small numbers after the prices of public transport were raised, but they gained new momentum and popular support in the past few days. The masses that have joined these groups saw in these public demonstrations a chance to give voice to their insatisfaction regarding social problems and corruption. The protests are mostly peaceful, despite the actions of small groups of extremists who are not supported by the majority of the protestors. The governments of the affected cities are already preparing to dialogue and compromise with the protestors.
Safety a top priority for Rio authorities
The World Youth Day organization continues to focus on the safety of pilgrims as well as the general population during the event. A security protocol has already been created to divide responsibilities between the various security forces. The Military Police and the Municipal Guard will stay close to the pilgrims.
The opening and closing of roads, safety at tourist sites, group travel, all of this will be the duty of the Military Police. They will be responsible for urban policing, and will always be able to count on back up.
With regards to the Municipal Guard, there will be ten operations centers which will guard tourist sites and will constantly patrol train and metro stations. Further, there will be more than 200 agents distributed about these operations centers, who will also increase their patrols around municipal schools (625 schools). For the main events, there will be over 1,300 agents for Copacabana.
Other police forces will be following an activity protocol (a manual that does not allow for unforeseen occurrences, providing detailed instructions for police response). Step by step instructions are included, and there are more than 50 thousand different situations included. The protocol is part of the Extraordinary Secretariat of Security for Large-scale Events (Sesge), part of the Ministry of Justice, that together with the Ministry of Defense will be coordinating security for the event.
The detailed safety planning has been praised by General Domenico Giani, Commander of the Gendarmerie (Vatican Police). “I think that there will not be any safety issues, whether for the Pope or for those in attendance as we are studying everything down to the smallest details, to all of the minutiae,” he guaranteed.
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