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Greenpeace Hangs Banner on Rio's Christ Statue in Protest of Johannesburg Summit

Police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have detained five Greenpeace activists after they hung a banner on the well-known Christ Statue that overlooks the city. The banner was hung on the religious monument to protest what the activist environmental group says are the paltry results from the Johannesburg summit.

The Greenpeace activists climbed the huge stone statue that sits on a peak overlooking the city and hung their banner across the outstretched arms of the Christ figure. The banner in yellow letters said: "Rio plus 10 a second chance?"

It was a reference to the just-concluded Johannesburg summit on sustainable development, which was held 10 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Greenpeace says the Johannesburg conference was a disaster because delegates did not make progress on climate change and energy use. The environmental group says it is especially disappointed over the defeat of an initiative by Brazil and the European Union to establish goals for increasing the use of renewable energy. The United States and members of OPEC are reported to have blocked the initiative.

Frank Guggenheim, the head of Greenpeace in Brazil, told TV Globo that increasing renewable energy use by 10 percent in 10 years is achievable.

"We want 10 percent of renewable energy use in 10 years," he said. "This is the time frame for implementation, and without it all you have is a lot of talk and no action."

The Greenpeace protest was not approved by the Archdiocese of Rio, which owns the giant statue known as Christ the Redeemer. The activists who were detained Thursday could be charged with trespassing. A statement by Greenpeace late Thursday said the protest was not aimed at harming the image of the Catholic Church or belittling a religious monument.