Brazilian First Responders: “You Will Not Be Safe in Rio”


Demonstrators hold a banner reading "Olympics for whom?" next to a policeman during a protest against the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 5, 2015 TASSO MARCELO / AFP/Getty Images

Less than two months before the Olympics, Brazilian first responders made a statement intended for an international audience.

Upon arrival to the Rio de Janeiro — Galeão International Airport, police, firefighters, and other first responders held signs that read, "Welcome to Hell."

First responders have said they are fed up with late paychecks and poor working conditions and have concerns for the public's safety.

Troubled by the reactions of first respondents, the lack of development, water pollution and threat of the Zika Virus, more than 300 officers took the streets of Brazil's second largest city on Monday to demand their salaries be paid by the government in full, according to Reuters.

The group protested the lack of basic equipment, including cars and even toilet paper. One spokesman for the Rio de Janeiro police force said, "We are in a meltdown."

RELATED: Zika Virus Won't Be a Big Problem at Olympics, Rio Officials Say

Though the World Health Organization stated that based on their current assessments, "cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus," government employees in Brazil have expressed concern over the growing Zika virus epidemic. They have said in several news reports that they do not believe that there are enough resources to deal with the epidemic.

One Brazil-based counter-terrorism agent wrote in a message to Yahoo Sports, "We have a desperate government and agencies — the danger has never been so close."

RELATED: Rio Upbeat Despite Zika, Economic Woes in Brazil

Though Rio is known for its luxurious resorts, superb beaches, and vivid culture, many of its residents are displaying their frustrations at the nation's current resources, especially its health system.

Rio de Janeiro Governor Francisco Dornelles warned Monday that the Olympic Games could be a "big failure."

Dornelles told Brazilian newspaper O Globo that Rio still is waiting for a $860 million payout from the federal government. He warned that without these funds, police patrols may grind to a halt by the end of the week, for lack of gas money.

"How are people going to feel protected in a city without security," Dornelles was quoted as asking.

RELATED: Rio Governor Warns Olympics Could Be 'Big Failure' Amid Cash Crisis

"I'm optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality," said Dornelles. "We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren't taken, it can be a big failure."

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