Gangs Down Police Chopper as Rio Burns

But Brazil says it's working on security issues for 2016 Games
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 18, 2009 9:35 AM CDT
A bus on fire sits at Jacarezinho slum after being burnt by alleged gang members in Rio de Janeiro, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009.    (Felipe Dana)
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(Newser) – Brazilian officials are insisting security won't be a problem for its just-won 2016 Olympics despite drug-gang violence that plunged Rio de Janeiro into a day of bloody chaos that saw gangs shoot down a police helicopter, killing two cops and injuring four. The hourslong turf war between rival gangs in one of the city's slums killed at least 12 people, injured six, and set fire to eight buses yesterday.

Authorities said the violence would only toughen their resolve to improve security ahead of the Olympics and before 2014, when Brazil hosts the World Cup. Rio state Gov. Sergio Cabral grimly told reporters yesterday that security challenges can't be cured "by magic in the short term," but said that money is being poured into crime reduction and that authorities are prepared to mount an overwhelming security presence at the sporting events. Yesterday's fighting raged about five miles southwest of one of the zones where the Olympics will be held.