Praça dos Orixás, on the shores of Lake Paranoá, in Brasília, was the target of depredation this Thursday (26). The image of the orixá Ogum, a Candomblé deity, was set on fire and destroyed. The Civil Police investigates the case.
“This is a crime of hate and religious racism. We cannot allow that to happen,” says the saint’s mother Adna Santos, better known as Mãe Baiana de Oyá.
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The image, which originally stood on a concrete plinth, was found on the ground, completely charred (see photo). The entity’s head had been torn off and placed on the branch of a tree. “They brutalized the image completely,” reports the saint-mother.
This is the second image destroyed at the site, also known as “prainha”, in just six years. In 2015, the sculpture by Oxalá, the highest Candomblé entity, was also burned.
The square was also attacked by vandals in 2006, when four statues of orixás were torn from their pedestals.
In 2009, the area was restored and reopened to the public, displaying all 16 statues of orixás, about 1.5 m high each, by Bahian artist Tatti Moreno. The pieces are made with fiberglass, being highly flammable.
Mãe Baiana de Oyá, who is the coordinator of the Policy for the Promotion and Protection of Religious Freedom at the DF’s Subsecretariat for Human Rights and Racial Equality, denounced the case to the Specialized Police Station in Crimes of Religious Intolerance (Decrin).
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The crime also mobilized organizations that defend African-based religions in the DF, such as Foafro. This Friday morning (27), an event was held at Praça dos Orixás. They ask the Federal District Government (GDF) to take better care of the space, a city’s heritage and a sacred place for people of African origin.
“There is the place for us to put our offerings, a sacred place for our religiosity. We want the revitalization of the beach”, said Mãe Baiana. According to her, a meeting with Governor Ibaneis Rocha was requested to deal with the matter.
She says that Praça dos Orixás has parts of sidewalks torn off and holes scattered, which makes the place a risky environment for the circulation of people, who may suffer accidents.
Source: Federal District BdF
Edition: Flávia Quirino