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Black flags fly from sailboats to protest Olympic construction in Rio de Janeiro

Aug 17, 2015 The waters of Rio de Janeiro´s Guanabara Bay on July 12 featured sailboats flying large black flags from their masts in protest against construction projects linked to the 2016 Olympics scheduled to be hosted there.

The bay will host sailing events when the Olympics kick off in August of 2016 and the city´s Marina da Gloria will be used as the headquarters and launching site for sailors. However there are concerns about hosting sailing events on the waters, because of pollution levels in the fetid waters of the Guanabara Bay. In addition, demonstrators say that the construction projects at the marina have purely commercial aims and would not benefit the everyday users of the public facility.

The protest was dubbed the “Black Horizon”, and was organized by a local artist Martha Niklaus. It had twenty-six sailboats on display, and here’s what Niklaus had to say:

“Everyone is really receptive and lending their support for the protest. And I think it´s having a really good impact. From an artistic point of view as well, because I think art has this role. And over the past several years my work has been connected to social movements. It is activist work; right now my work is focused on social causes,”

Another demonstrator, Luiz Gold Feld, believes the Olympic Games are being used as a cover to commercialize the area.

“We are completely in favor of the Olympics being held at the Marina da Gloria, what we are against is using the Olympics as an excuse for a Project that is not at all nautical. After the Olympics the company is going to build a shopping mall, an events hall, and it has nothing to do with the Olympics. So it isn´t an Olympics project,”

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