NEWS

Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay Hit By Ugly Protests Over $12 Billion Games Price Tag

Footage appears to show an officer firing directly at a protester.

04/08/2016 10:48

The Olympic torch relay has been thrown into chaos in Rio de Janiero after demonstrators tried to put out the Olympic flame and were hit with tear gas and pepper spray.

Hundreds of people blocked the streets in the north of Rio to protest about the high cost of the Games in a country already struggling with recession, corruption and political crisis.

Footage showed crowds, including children, fleeing from the police, who reportedly said a group refused to leave one lane of the road open for the torch, the BBC reported.

Riot police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and video footage appeared to show a policeman firing a projectile directly at a protester.

PA
A security officer points his firearm at a group of protesters
PA
A cloud of smoke comes from the weapon as the officer fires
PA
One of the protesters falls to the ground after the officer fires

Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio, carried the torch in the city centre as it arrived in the city on Wednesday ahead of tomorrow’s opening ceremony, before it was disrupted.

It follows a series of problems amid demonstrations - striking teachers even managed to extinguish the flame last week.

And there was outrage from animal rights groups in June after a jaguar that appeared in the relay “illegally” was shot dead after it escaped from its handlers.

BBC
Hundreds descended on the protest.
BBC
Tear gas was used
BBC
Protesters oppose the cost of the Olympics

The Games have cost $12 billion (£9 billion) when Brazil is in its worst ever recorded recession. Its former president Dilma Rousseff was impeached after allegations she was involved in a corruption scandal at the state oil company Petrobras. 

Untreated sewage in Rio’s water has led to officials advising athletes to spend as little time in it as possible in swimming events.

At least three protestors were arrested on Tuesday when the relay travelled through Niteroi near Rio. 

The police again used pepper spray and part of the relay had to be cancelled.

  • Silvia Izquierdo/AP
    Rio de Janeiro's Eduardo Paes, center, holds the Olympic torch on its way for the opening ceremony of Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. The flame arrived in the Olympic host city from Niteroi, just across a short channel leading into Guanabara Bay. The flame will make its way to Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
  • Leo Correa/AP
    Demonstrators scuffle with riot police during a protest against the money spent on the Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics on the route of the olympic torch in Niteroi, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. The three-month torch relay across Brazil will end at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Mario Tama via Getty Images
    SAO GONCALO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 02: A protester stands holding a sign calling for public security along the Olympic torch route ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 2, 2016 in Sao Goncalo, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. A group of around 50 protesters, calling for funds for health and education, attempted to stop the torch from passing. A few protesters were arrested and the torch passed through the area inside a vehicle. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
  • Felipe Dana/AP
    Brazilian garbage collector and dancer Renato Sorriso carries the Olympic torch on its way for the opening ceremony of Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. The flame will make its way to Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Leo Correa/AP
    Demonstrators scuffle with riot police during a protest against the money spent on the Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics on the route of the olympic torch in Niteroi, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. The three-month torch relay across Brazil will end at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • YASUYOSHI CHIBA via Getty Images
    People block a road during a protest against the Olympic torch relay for Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Niteroi, on August 2, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Leo Correa/AP
    A demonstrator is taken away by riot police during a protest against the money spent on the Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics on the route of the olympic torch in Niteroi, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. The three-month torch relay across Brazil will end at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Silvia Izquierdo/AP
    Rio de Janeiro's Eduardo Paes, center, holds the Olympic torch, while members of the Mangueira samba school dance, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. The flame arrived in the Olympic host city from Niteroi, just across a short channel leading into Guanabara Bay. The flame will make its way to Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
  • Felipe Dana/AP
    Roel de Vries carries the Olympic torch on its way to Rio de Janeiro for the opening ceremony of Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics, in Niteroi, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. The three-month torch relay across Brazil will end at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, in Maracana stadium. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Felipe Dana/AP
    A woman carries the Olympic torch past the Candelaria church on its way for the opening ceremony of Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. The flame will make its way to Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • Felipe Dana/AP
    Leonardo Espindola carries the Olympic torch on its way to Rio de Janeiro for the opening ceremony of Rio's 2016 Summer Olympics, in Niteroi, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. The three-month torch relay across Brazil will end at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, in Maracana stadium. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
  • YASUYOSHI CHIBA via Getty Images
    Brazilian police officers use pepper spray during a demonstration against the Olympic torch relay for Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Niteroi, on August 2, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • YASUYOSHI CHIBA via Getty Images
    People face Brazilian police during a protest against the Olympic torch relay for Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Niteroi, on August 2, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
  • YASUYOSHI CHIBA via Getty Images
    People block a road during a protest against the Olympic torch relay for Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Niteroi, on August 2, 2016. / AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
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