Motorists to be fined $425 for driving in Rio Olympic lanes
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Residents of Rio de Janeiro will get three new holidays during the Olympics as part of a plan to keep people off the roads and limit the city's suffocating traffic.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes announced the new holidays, along with new traffic fines, on Wednesday as the city marked 100 days until the Olympics open on Aug. 5.
The holidays will include the day of the opening ceremony, the day of the triathlon on Aug. 18, and the day following the closing ceremony on Aug. 22. The last holiday is to help visitors leave town.
Paes also said motorists would be fined 1,500 Brazilian reals (about $425) if they are caught driving in special Olympic lanes set aside for the Rio de Janeiro Games.
The Olympic lanes will start operating on July 25. Paes also said large trucks would be restricted from the city from July 18 through Sept. 18.
Despite Brazil's economic and political turmoil, slow Olympic ticket sales and delays at some Olympic venues, Paes said he was optimistic.
''We arrived at this moment in a way many doubted we could,'' Paes said ''There are some details and issues to be addressed, problems we saw in the test-events. But things are going well in the preparations.''
Amnesty International also marked the 100 days, saying in a statement that at least 11 people have been killed in police shootings in Rio's impoverished favelas since the beginning of the month. It said at least 307 people were killed by police last year, accounting 20 percent of the homicides in the city.
''Despite the promised legacy of a safe city for hosting the Olympic games, killings by the police have been steadily increasing over the past few years in Rio,'' Amnesty said in a statement.
Rio will deploy about 85,000 soldiers and police during the games, about twice the number London used four years ago.