Sunday Jun 17, 201202:46 AM GMT
Favela anti-poverty protest staged on the beach ahead of Rio+20
Poverty and wealth are often neighbors in Brazil.
Poverty and wealth are often neighbors in Brazil.
Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:42AM
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Activists have set up a model of a favela (shantytown) on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach ahead of the Rio+20 summit to protest against class inequality and to promote greater sustainability.

The model of the rickety shacks of Brazil’s impoverished masses certainly came as a surprise to the middle class and upper class beachgoers on Saturday.

"There was never another generation in the history of humanity that destroyed as much of the planet as ours has," protest organizer Antonio Carlos Costa, who is also the president of the Rio de Paz human rights organization, said during the action.

To make the favela model complete, images depicting open sewage, rats, and even a dead body were set up on the sand.

Although the Brazilian government has increased investment in security and other projects, favela inhabitants say they still lack basic resources like electricity and sanitation.

There are hundreds of impoverished favelas throughout Rio de Janeiro, and many more in other Brazilian cities.

During the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 summit), which starts on Wednesday, officials from all over the world will discuss numerous issues, including poverty and urban planning.

On Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the global sustainable development summit in Rio is "too important to fail."

In a plea to world leaders, Ban said the international community was in danger of wasting an opportunity to use the Rio+20 meeting to plan a new course for economic and social development.

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