Brazil arrests two French travelers for perching on top of iconic statue

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Brazilian authorities arrested two French people for watching the sun rise over Rio de Janeiro from the top of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue while the monument was closed, one of the travelers told AFP.

Clément Dumais, 28, and Paul Roux-dit-Buisson, 27, entered the site of the 38-meter (125-foot) monument on Sunday evening and remained there after the statue closed for the day. The pair snuck inside before dawn, climbed a long spiral staircase, and exited through a hatch on one of the arms to take in the view of the city and Guanabara Bay. The outstretched arms of the statue measure 28 meters.

The adventure ended when one of the site’s security guards noticed the men. “We were standing on our arms and heads and a security guard saw us,” Roux-dit-Buisson told AFP.

The two men were arrested Monday and released after posting a bond of 10,000 reais ($ 1,900). Both will now have to appear before a judge.

Rio de Janeiro tourism police declined to comment, saying they were investigating the incident.

Originally from Paris, the pair staged similar feats at iconic architectural sites in Dubai, New York and Paris and documented their adventures on social media.

Police have confiscated all photos and videos the men took while standing atop the Rio statue, but travelers say they have no regrets.

“The view was beautiful. Not many people have the chance to see that,” said Roux-dit-Buisson. “We were able to enter into the skin of Christ.”

The Christ the Redeemer statue, which will celebrate its 90th anniversary in October, was recently renovated with the help of professional climbers, who worked above the void in harnesses. In 1991 and 2010, the statue was vandalized with graffiti.

Along with the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the iconic statue, located at the top of Corcovado Hill, is the most visited site in the tourist capital of Brazil, with nearly two million visits per year.


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