Church members brought an ecumenical presence to a recent demonstration in Rio de Janeiro's Santa Teresa neighbourhood that protested government neglect of a transportation system which is a lifeline for the residents.
The state government's lack of attention to the trolley system has caused 8 deaths and injured 50 in the last three months, according to a report from the Latin American and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC).
Representatives of the Anglican, Lutheran, United Presbyterian and Baptist Churches, and the Koinonia Ecumenical Presence and Service organisation, took part in the protest.
It began with a procession that left St Paul Church and gathered people on its way to Curvelo, a few metres away from the crossing of the Arches da Lapa, a cultural landmark in the centre of the city, said the ALC report. The trolley system has operated for 115 years and is not only a tourist attraction, but also a means of transportation for the residents and a basic sustenance of the economic life of the neighbourhood.
Judicial orders for recovery of the service date back to 2008, but the state government has not complied with the orders. The state government replaced the trolleys with light transportation vehicles.
The churches and Koinonia held the demands of the Santa Teresa neighbourhood to be just, as it now suffers as a result of a low quality public transportation system, said the ALC report.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]