French youths were arrested for climbing the statue of Christ the Redeemer

Two young French men were arrested after watching the sunrise over the imposing Christ the Redeemer statue, an iconic monument that offers a unique view of Rio de Janeiro.

Clément Dumais, 28, and Paul Roux-dit-Buisson, 27, stayed after the visitor entrance closed and spent Sunday night near the 38-meter-tall statue to watch the sun rise over the “Cidade Maravilhosa” and its majestic Guanabara Bay.

Before dawn, the two Frenchmen entered the Christ, climbed a staircase that winds inside the monument, and exited through a hatch located in one of the arms. The distance from one hand to the other of the statue of Christ, which has open arms, is 28 meters.

“We were standing on the arms and head of Christ and a security guard saw us,” Roux-dit-Buisson told AFP.

The adventure ended there for the two young men, arrested on Monday by the police, who were not very sensitive to explanations about their artistic approach.

Both were released after the payment of a bail of 10,000 reais (1,600 euros) and will now have to appear before a judge.

Rio’s tourist police avoided commenting on this matter and explained that it was verifying the facts. He also confiscated all the photos and videos of the sunrise from the Christ, a rather unsuccessful adventure for the French, who have been publishing images of their exploits on their social networks and on their YouTube channel for ten years.

“But the view was pretty. Few can see it,” said Roux-dit-Buisson, better known on social media as Paul RDB. “We were able to put ourselves in the shoes of Christ.”

Fans of strong emotions, the two French, who describe themselves as highly trained “parkour athletes” at heights and climbing enthusiasts, accumulate adventures in iconic buildings in Dubai, New York or Paris. In this last city they climbed the Eiffel Tower.

“We don’t do much authorized, in general,” admits Paul RDB. But “we respect what we admire. We don’t just climb (buildings) for fun,” he says. “We discovered that the Corcovado (Christ) was a great work.”

The Christ the Redeemer statue, whose 90th anniversary will be celebrated in October, has just been restored with professional climbers equipped with harnesses and hanging in the void.


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