RIO DE JANEIRO – Dozens of striking officials of the Brazilian government’s Ibama environmental agency prevented people from reaching the Christ the Redeemer statue, the top tourist attraction in Rio de Janeiro, on Wednesday.
The protesters were among workers who have been on strike since April 8 along with employees of the Environment Ministry and several related government departments, the Ibama employees association said in a statement.
Tourists who tried to reach the top of Corcovado Mountain, where the statue stands, were prevented from doing so on Wednesday morning by the protesters.
The demonstrators only allowed workers cleaning up and repairing the roads in surrounding Tijuca National Forest, where numerous mudslides occurred last month, to pass through.
Some 600 people employed by environmental agencies are on strike in Rio de Janeiro’s Itatiaia, Serra dos Orgaos, Bocaina and Tijuca parks.
The Ibama employees are demanding pay increases for workers stationed in isolated or dangerous areas, as well as salaries and responsibilities based on individual employees’ qualifications.
Christ the Redeemer, which draws some 1.8 million tourists each year, has been surrounded by scaffolding since February as part of a restoration project.
The statue was vandalized several weeks ago.
Christ the Redeemer, constructed in 1931, was declared a national heritage site in December. EFE