Brazil beefs up World Cup security at Maracana
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian organizers brought in 600 extra security forces Sunday and put up higher perimeters fences for the World Cup game at the Maracana Stadium after ticketless fans broke into the venue at both previous matches there.
Around 40 police officers lined up behind new fences at the specific part of the stadium where nearly 100 Chilean supporters forced their way in ahead of Wednesday’s Spain-Chile game, then rampaged through the press center breaking down walls in an apparent attempt to get in to the sold-out match.
For Sunday’s fixture between Belgium and Russia, there were also black-uniformed military police, some with dogs, patrolling outside the Maracana. A special contingent of 600 police, some carrying assault weapons, began blocking off streets and setting up barricades around the Rio de Janeiro stadium before dawn and police were checking fans’ tickets as they left the train station to make the short walk to the game.
Riot police in body armor also stood in a line outside the 74,000-seat stadium.
The head of military police for Rio de Janeiro state had announced earlier that the 600 extra officers would be assigned to the Belgium-Russia game, bringing the police presence to over 3,000 for the third of seven games at the Maracana, which also hosts the World Cup final July 13.
The increase in security followed the breach by Chilean fans that world football body FIFA called “embarrassing.”
During the breach, at least 88 fans were detained after rushing past a security checkpoint and gaining access to the media room, then breaking down partition walls and running up and down a corridor close to the field. They were detained by private security officers around 15 minutes after they busted in.
At the first World Cup game at the Maracana between Argentina and Bosnia four days earlier, at least 10 Argentina fans were detained after jumping fences to try to see their team play.