By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz in Ipanema was at the center of a protest demonstration yesterday (Saturday 12th) against plans to remove 113 trees during the implementation of a new Metro subway line.
The trees, which have been part of the park for decades, are to be removed in compliance with plans to construct ‘Metro Line 4’ linking Ipanema with Barra da Tijuca. Work is rumored to begin in June, after which, the state has promised to return the trees.
Despite this, the move has sparked concern from a number of residents who, in the last few weeks, have attached petitions to posts around the park generating over 12,000 signatures in support of their objection.
Protesters gathered in Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz armed with banners displaying the slogans “cuidado: frágil” meaning “caution: fragile” in a show of solidarity.
Project coordinator and organizer of the rally, Ignêz Barreto, told O Globo, “The square is home to a rich fauna that live in this environment, it is the backyard of our children, a meeting point for students and an oasis for the elderly and disabled. We are not against progress with the installation of the subway, but we do not support the felling of trees.”
Fortunately for the protesters, the weather was kind. Barreto was particularly impressed with the turnout stating “We got a sunny Saturday and at least 3,000 people passed through here to sign the protest.”
The group intends to present the signatures acquired from the rally to the governor, Sergio Cabral, the mayor and the State Prosecutor in the hope of preventing any potentially harmful action from taking place in the park.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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