A man captured this image of a homeless woman sleeping below a promotional Olympics banner — and it’s making Brazilian citizens on social media extremely angry.
The photo was taken by Felipe Barcellos, a local director, screenwriter, and professor, BuzzFeed reports. Barcellos noticed the woman when he was riding a bus, then stopped to photograph her.
The image struck a nerve because it’s emblematic of Rio’s disastrous preparations for the Olympic games. Major construction projects are still unfinished, local waters are teeming with drug-resistant bacteria, and entire neighbourhoods have been razed to make way for new Olympics-related developments. Plus, the government is relocating homeless citizens in an effort to mask the country’s poverty problem before athletes and spectators flood the city.
When a New York Times reporter visited Rio, she heard disturbing testimony of this practice:
“Homeless people in Rio told me that police officers are forcing them off footpaths and dragging them to filthy shelters to start ‘cleaning up’ the streets before the influx of visitors. The evictions often take place at 3 a.m. with the help of police dogs and pepper spray, and sometimes horses.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Barcellos said that the image “is an important part of the discussion on the supposed sustainable legacy of the Olympics.”
Here’s his original post:
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