Rio de Janeiro’s famous Ipanema beach remained tense for a second day after enforcement of a ban against soccer led to unrest between sunbathers and security forces.
Members of Rio’s unarmed municipal guard were attacked Oct. 9 by beachgoers after trying to detain a group juggling a soccer ball on the beach in violation of rules restricting play near the water from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Yesterday, officers intensified patrols near the popular No. 9 lifeguard post after video images showing police dragging away suspected violators under a barrage of coconuts, beach chairs and umbrellas was uploaded to YouTube.
Beachgoers have criticized the allegedly aggressive tactics, accusing officers of indiscriminately wielding batons against innocent bystanders. More than 1,000 people have signed up on social networking site Facebook to attend what organizers say will be the biggest-ever beach soccer game on Oct. 14.
The ban against soccer playing, shrimp grilling and other longstanding traditions popular at Rio’s beaches is part of Mayor Eduardo Paes’s so-called shock and order initiative to educate Rio residents to better care for their city ahead of its hosting of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Paes was re-elected Oct. 7 to another four-year term. His press office declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today.
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