Soccer-Brazil to increase security at Maracana after breach


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RIO DE JANEIRO, June 20 (Reuters) - Brazil will beef up policing for World Cup matches at the Maracana stadium to try to prevent a repeat of a security breach this week when scores of ticketless Chile fans forced their way into the ground, police officials said on Friday.

Around 600 trainee police officers will join roughly 3,000 police officers already deployed for matches at the stadium and an extra set of barriers will be set up at key points for security checks before fans get close to the perimeter fence.

Jose Luis Castro, a commander with Rio's military police force, said the new barriers would prevent a build-up of supporters without tickets immediately outside the stadium and prevent people from forcing their way in.

On Wednesday, Chile fans pushed down a perimeter fence outside the Maracana and about 200 supporters rushed into a media centre, desperately trying to find a way into the stands to watch their team play Spain.

The arrested fans were held briefly before being given 72 hours to leave Brazil or face forced deportation.

A few days earlier, a handful of Argentina supporters jumped over a perimeter fence at the Maracana before their team's match against Bosnia on Sunday, officials said at the time.

Other new security measures included extending a planned half-day public holiday in Rio to a full-day holiday on Wednesday, when France are due to play Ecuador, to reduce the number of people around the stadium. Traffic will be barred from streets in the area for longer periods than for previous games.

"If a situation gets to the point where the measures that are being taken are not enough, we could think about other, more complex measures," said Roberto Alzir, head of major events with the Rio state security secretariat.

The stadium is due to host a match between Belgium and Russia on Sunday followed by France v Ecuador. A second-round match, a quarter-final and the final of the tournament are also due to be played at the iconic stadium. (Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Ed Osmond)

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