Brazil has spent more than five times the amount on security as the last World Cup in South Africa. Those Robo-Cop outfits must have cost a lot.
The hair-raising pictures, taken of riot police at the most recent demonstrations and of soldiers protecting the stadiums and team buses, show the extent the South American nation is going to in order to secure the streets from the disorder that have rocked the country in recent months, in protest at the cost of the tournament.
The security bill is £498m, with a third of that given to the armed forces to patrol Brazil's borders. More than 170,000 security officers will patrol the 12 World Cup stadiums during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and helicopters, drones, and surveillance equipment will also be used.
"While it is more expensive to operate in Brazil than South Africa, the Brazilian authorities have invested heavily on security and defence equipment to combat a wide range of challenges across the 12 host cities," Laurence Allan, head of Latin America Country Risk analysis at IHS, told the Irish Independent.
Human rights groups have said that the country's forces have a reputation for heavy-handedness, lack of training, and impunity. Atila Roque, director at Amnesty Brazil, said the country's policing record "creates a dangerous cocktail in which the only losers are peaceful protesters".
“The 2014 World Cup will be a crucial test for authorities in Brazil," she continued. They must use this opportunity to step up their game and ensure the security forces policing demonstrations during the tournament refrain from committing any more human rights violations. As the world focuses attention on Brazil, authorities must publicly pledge not to use excessive force against demonstrators and investigate abuses. Anything less will be giving carte blanche to the security forces to commit more human rights abuses.”
Brazilian legislators are currently debating a range of proposed laws that will likely further restrict the right to peaceful protest. A draft counter-terrorism law, currently before the National Congress, will establish a broad definition of terrorism that would, for example, include damage to goods and essential services as an act of terrorism. There is concern that, if passed, it could be misused against peaceful protesters.