Mutilated body parts have washed up on the shore of Copacabana beach, metres from where Olympic volleyball athletes will compete at Rio 2016.
The Guardian reports that a security perimeter has been erected around the area, but a policeman has confirmed the gruesome discovery. The circumstances behind the dismemberment of the body are still unclear, and police officials did not return calls to their public affairs office for more details on Wednesday afternoon.
Rio's police force is currently in the grip of a serious crisis, with officers striking on Monday afternoon and protesting at the city's main international airport. The authorities have cut departmental budgets and delayed payment of officers' salaries in recent weeks, in response to a broader financial crisis that is crippling Rio and Brazil as a whole.
In the aftermath of the police strike, Rio's O Globo newspaper quoted city governor Francisco Dornelles as saying: "How will people feel protected in the city without security? We can host a great Olympics but, unless certain steps are taken, it can be a total failure, too."
The discovery of a mutilated body is the latest in a long line of disturbing developments ahead of the Rio Olympics. In addition to police strikes and budget cuts to security, there has been widespread political turmoil in Brazil precipitated by the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff, as well as a national recession and a significant rise in violent crime.