Olympic flag touches down on Brazilian soil

 

The Olympic flag touched down on Brazilian soil, marking the start of four years of preparations ahead of the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio mayor Eduardo Paes waved the five-ringed flag as he and other officials disembarked from the flight that brought them back from London, where they attended the Games' closing ceremony on Sunday.

Speaking at a packed news conference at Rio's Tom Jobim international airport, Mr Paes called it an "important moment" for Rio and for Brazil at large.

He promised the Games would leave a vast legacy for Rio, the beachside metropolis that suffered from decades of neglect after it lost national capital status to Brasilia in 1960.

"I see the arrival of this Olympic flag as not the start, but the consolidation of an important process of transformation for the city of Rio de Janeiro," he said.

"Rio is a city that spent the lion's share of its history, much more time than it should have, looking towards the past. I'm sure that this process of transformation, this turning toward the future, has been consolidated here."

Mr Paes said the most important effects of the Olympics "are sometimes, many times, the intangible transformations, the impalpable ones related to the brand of a country, the brand of a city, with the self-esteem of a country".

But a handful of demonstrators gathered outside the airport to protest against expulsions connected with Olympic projects and others tied to the 2014 soccer World Cup, which Brazil is also hosting.

The Popular Committee for the World Cup and Olympics, which organised the protest, says as many as 170,000 people risk being removed from their homes, or already have been removed, due to projects related to the two mega-events.

The group says some 4,000 people living in the so-called Vila Autodromo, where the Olympic Park is to be built, are facing expulsion. Activists have complained of a lack of consultation between the government and the affected communities and also of low compensation paid out to those kicked out of their homes.

Asked about the government's plan was for the residents of Vila Autodromo, Mr Paes said nothing would be done without extensive consultations.

"No-one is going to throw anyone out of anywhere ... without there being an alternative," he said. "The people will only leave there with lots of consultations, with lots of discussion, with lots of respect."

He added that some of those opposed to the evictions were people "who are always railing against the government. That's why things were paralysed for so long. They don't want anything to happen here".

The Olympic flag, made out of silk for the 1988 games in Seoul, South Korea, will be temporarily housed in the City Hall and will be open to viewings by visitors.

AP

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee