A protester has tried to put out the Olympic flame on Wednesday night, interrupting the ceremonial torch relay’s leg through Joinville in Brazil. Wielding a fire extinguisher, the assailant wearing a black vest, shorts and baseball cap, emerged from the assembled crowd and managed to get away one spray of foam before being wrestled under control by one of the police escorts.
Fortunately, the Olympic flame stayed lit and the torchbearer was unharmed. The incident, however, is not the first of its kind and security ahead of the Games in Rio de Janeiro presents a major concern for organizers.
Last month, a relay leg in Maracaju was interrupted when a man tried to douse the Olympic flame with a bucket of cold water. In another incident, an Amazonian jaguar that had taken part in the torch lighting show in Manaus was shot dead after it escaped from its handlers.
The Games in Rio this summer are facing a litany of problems and controversies which threaten to undermine the event. Among such issues are Brazil’s slumping economy, worries over whether stadium infrastructure will be ready in time and political scandal that extends all the way to the country’s top office.
A congressional committee is considering impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff for allegedly adjusting budget laws to increase spending during her 2014 re-election campaign. Rousseff and her government have also struggled with the state-run oil company Petrobras, which has been mired in a huge corruption case. Allegations include political kickbacks, price-fixing and bribery.
The Games have not escaped the impact of the corruption. Several major Brazilian construction firms responsible for the majority of Olympic projects have also been implicated.