No teamwork at World Cup: Police break up security riots
As I indicated in an earlier blog, there have been some serious concerns about the strength of security at World Cup events. Just today, the game between Italy and Paraguay was nearly canceled after security stewards (that must be what other people in the world call officers) walked off the job because of pay disputes, according to this article. Walking out on game day forced South African police to take control of security at the stadium.
But this wasn't the first big issue involving security and police. On Sunday, stewards stationed at a different stadium (but who were employed by the same security company, Stallion) clashed with riot police also over wage issues. And it gets worse:
Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to break up a protest by around 400 stadium staff protesting what they said was a pay cut from 250 rand ($A39) to 190 rand per day.
So now police resources are being used to fight security officers? You're suppose to be on the same team, remember?
Here's a statement from Rich Mkhondo, head of communications for the local World Cup organizing committee, who said the protest did not impact on security at the match (uh huh):
"Two hours after the end of the first match at the Durban stadium last night, there was an internal pay dispute between the principal security company employed by the organizing committee and some of the static security stewards employed by the company at the match," Mkhondo said in a statement e-mailed to the AP. "Police were called on to disperse the protesting stewards."
Attempting to secure an event like the World Cup is not exactly easy. There are a lot of logistics involved, including efforts to coordinate multiple entities who likely have not worked together in the past (read all about these challenges in this SDN article). While I empathize with the workers who are allegedly being screwed by their security employer, game day is not the time to make one's point (although it is certainly effective at drawing attention). Security is too important at this event and there are too many lives at stake for such disputes. I'm assuming police forces are taxed at the moment and they certainly don't need to be spending resources to battle the people who are suppose to be their partners.