Brazilian Navy Conducts Simulation Exercise to Contain Civil Unrest During the Olympic Games
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo August 17, 2016As part of the defense and security preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games, the Brazilian Navy simulated a riot control operation at Flamengo Beach in Rio de Janeiro. The goal of the exercise was to prepare military personnel to combat the actions of those who disturb the peace during the sports event, which has brought together over 10,000 athletes from 206 countries. During the simulation, the troops used three boats to contain a mock violent demonstration near the Monument to the Dead of WWII, situated in Flamengo Park – a recreational area built on an embankment at Guanabara Bay, in the south of Rio. The training also included the rescue of an individual supposedly injured during the riots using an air medical evacuation (Medevac) aircraft, which took off from the Santos Dumont airport, located near the activity site. "A thousand service members participated in the exercise as one," reported Rear Admiral Ricardo Henrique Santos do Pilar, Commander of the Ground Task Force of the Copacabana Regional Defense Command (CDS), a Navy entity providing support to security forces during the Games. "In addition to the ships positioned in Guanabara Bay, there were military members involved in isolating the Santos Dumont Airport, others that were positioned at the Monument to the Dead, and others involved in the debarking," concluded Rear Adm. Santos do Pilar. Marines Neutralize the Riot An essential part of the exercise was the disembarkation of 80 Marines at Flamengo Beach. "Their mission was to control the riot and reestablish security in the area," according to a report from the Brazilian Navy. During the first stage of the simulation, "Guarapari" General Cargo Landing Craft (EDCG) unloaded military vehicles at the embankment. Later, troops arrived by sea using "Cataguases" Vehicles and Materials Landing Craft (EDVM). The military personnel also used the "APA" Oceanic Patrol Vessel in support of the operation. Equipped with radars, three machine guns, and the capacity to transport 120 troops, the "APA" is one of 19 vessels and 40 motorboats being used to guarantee security during the Olympic Games, according to a report from the Brazilian Ministry of Defense. Finally, an Esquilo Helicopter belonging to the Brazilian Navy simulated a medical evacuation of the mock victim. "Today we had a demonstration of the Navy's flexibility," said Admiral Ademir Sobrinho, Chief of the Joint General Staff of the Armed Forces (EMCFA) of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, who was present during the exercise tasks. "We have been training [for the Games] for almost two years. And we see here today, with satisfaction, the crowning achievement of all that preparation and planning. We are ready." General Fernando Azevedo e Silva, Chief of Air Defense General Coordination (CGDA) and of the East Military Command (CML), said that the exercise demonstrated the ability of these military personnel to overcome any protests and road obstructions. "[We demonstrated] the full capacity of the Navy to use its maritime resources to position troops and vehicles for the security of the Games." The exercise allowed for the testing of sea routes as an option to mobilize troops and the use of air resources for possible rescues, reported the Navy. Exercise Simulates Boat Hijacking On July 21st, during another training session for the Olympics, the Copacabana CDS simulated the hijacking of a passenger boat belonging to the company CCR Barcas. During the simulation, mock terrorists hijacked a vessel traveling between Rio de Janeiro and the neighboring city of Niterói. Almost 250 Navy sailors pretended to be passengers, while others made believe they were negotiators. As the negotiation was unproductive, the Marines took the ship with a go-fast boat in Guanabara Bay, near Boa Viagem Beach in Niterói. The operation was supported by helicopters, divers, and amphibious vehicles. "The goal of the exercise was to practice rapid response and the protocols established by the Brazilian Navy and CCR Barcas to guarantee the public's safety during the Games," the Brazilian Navy reported. Captain José Augusto Ferreira, Chief of the Maritime Task Force responsible for coastal security, told the press that the results were "extremely positive." "It was a complex exercise that involved the coordination of many teams: aerial teams, negotiating teams, rescue teams, and interdiction teams – in addition to the support of public safety organs and the Fire Department," said Capt. Ferreira. "If the Navy is called to respond to this type of occurrence, we are ready." According to the Ministry of Defense, close to 38,000 members of the Brazilian Armed Forces have been mobilized to guarantee security at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The military is working in coordination with the Ministry of Justice, the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, and state and municipal security organs. Of that total, 20,000 are active in Rio de Janeiro's four Olympic regions: Copacabana, Maracanã, Barra da Tijuca, and Deodoro. The rest are deployed in the cities of Brasília, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, and Manaus, where soccer matches are also being held.