Entertainment‎ > ‎

Protest takes over Copacabana’s beach

posted 16 Jun 2012, 10:30 by Mpelembe   [ updated 16 Jun 2012, 10:31 ]

NGO protests on Copacabana Beach call on authorities to address slum problems during Rio+20.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (JUNE 16, 2012) (REUTERS) - In the middle of the Rio+20 summit, a protest took over Copacabana Beach on Saturday (June 16) as activists called on Brazilian authorities to address issues of violence surrounding Rio's slums.

The NGO Rio de Paz ("Rio of Peace") set up shacks on the beach resembling a slum, known in Brazil as "favelas".

Rio de Paz president Carlos Costa said the country's government needs to take stronger measures to help Brazil's poor.

"It is important for the authorities to decide on something. Because if they don't, this will mean the perpetuation of the devastation of our natural resources, of the nature and the death of more people in a social inequality context," he said.

Slum resident, Priscila de Paula Souza, joined the protest and said they were hoping for the basics.

"I hope that the government, during Rio+20, looks at us. We do not want a mansion; we do not have high expectations. We just want jobs and education. Because without education we will not be able to find jobs," she said.

The protest attracted the attention of tourists and local residents, many who stopped and took pictures. Copacabana resident Luiza Castro said the government was responsible for the current situation of the slums.

"The government is responsible for this. It makes people dependent, they give money and everything else. But they do not give job opportunities for the people," she said.

Another local resident, Maria da Gloria, said slum problem was getting worse.

"I was born in Rio and I love my city. But it breaks my heart to see the slums taking over the city," she said.

The Rio+20 summit is billed as the most important environmental gathering in a generation, marking 20 years since the 1992 Rio "Earth Summit" which generated landmark deals on climate.

The conference is expected to attract participants from governments, companies and environmental and lobby groups in an attempt to set new goals across seven core themes including food security, water and energy.