LONDON Jan 31 It is a symbol of peace
around the world, but the statue of Christ the Redeemer which
stands high above Rio de Janeiro is causing an unholy rumpus in
one of London's most fashionable neighbourhoods ahead of this
The Brazilian national tourist board is looking to erect a
temporary replica of the 40-metre high art deco statue near the
summit of Primrose Hill in north London as part of a package of
promotional activities to mark the handover of the Olympic
mantle from London 2012 to Rio 2016.
Some living in the London district, home to leading
opposition Labour lawmakers, authors, actors and models, are in
favour of a temporary statue in the area, with its panoramic
views over the British capital, but others said they will fight
"It's a very special place, it does not need any building on
it. It's not on," said Friends of Primrose Hill Chairman Malcolm
"Once you start letting one person advertise on it,
everybody else will want to do it."
The British government is to launch a marketing campaign,
promoting the country's culture and business around the world in
the run-up to London staging the Olympics this summer, including
projecting images onto Rio's Sugarloaf Mountain.
Brazil's tourism board, in turn, wants to take advantage of
the investment and cachet of its city staging the next Games,
and has employed a planning consultancy based in London to make
discreet enquiries about erecting a replica of the distinctive
"We are surprised to see this story in the news as this is
only a concept that was being considered as part of a wider
platform of promotional activities for Embratur (the Brazilian
Tourism Board) and the Brazilian Government for 2012, when the
focus moves from London to Rio," the board said in a statement.
"Early exploratory conversations were being started with the
Primrose Hill community stakeholders and local authorities to
gauge local opinion for a temporary installation that we hoped
would be a celebratory landmark that helped to give the London
Borough of Camden and Primrose Hill an opportunity to be part of
the Olympic story."
The area, studded with multi-million pound houses, is
popular with walkers as well as actor Jude Law, model Kate Moss,
author Martin Amis and singer Enrique Iglesias.
Designs have yet to be unveiled but a replica statue, with
its distinctive outstretched arms, would be visible for miles
from one of the highest points in the capital.
The local council said it had been approached informally but
no formal planning application had yet been submitted.
Kafetz said strong opposition among its 1,100 members and
others had already been voiced, mainly along conservation lines
rather than religious ones.
"We are not Bolshie, we just want Primrose Hill left alone,"
Mick Hudspeth, manager of the Primrose Hill Community
Association, said he thought "it would be quite a bit of fun to
have it up there".
"We've got a campaign on the go at the minute to save the
local library, so were thinking how we could link them," he
(Reporting by Avril Ormsby, editing by Paul Casciato)