One of the world’s tallest statues of Jesus Christ has been inaugurated in Peru despite high level opposition and Facebook campaigns mocking it.
The Telegraph has more:
President Alan Garcia formally opened the monument, known as Cristo del Pacifico or Christ of the Pacific, on a hill in the capital Lima.
He personally helped fund the cost of the statue to the tune of around 100,000 Peruvian soles (£22,000) and has said it will “bless and protect Lima”.
But he has faced strong criticism from several quarters, with many seeing it as a vanity project he chose to pursue before leaving office at the end of July.
Susana Villaran, the Mayor of Lima, condemned the lack of consultation over the statue and labelled it “a plastic copy of the Christ of Corcovado” in Rio de Janeiro.
Architects have also questioned whether it may violate building codes and historians objected to the fact that it has been erected at the location of a 19th century battle against Chile.
A number of Facebook groups were formed to oppose the statue with one attracting 4,000 members and users suggesting joke names such as Cristo de lo Robado, loosely meaning the Christ That Was Ripped Off But others founded Facebook groups supporting the project and a poll by a Peruvian consulting firm found 51 per cent of Lima residents giving approval to the monument compared to 37 per cent against.
The statue, which was built in Brazil and shipped to Lima, is 37 metres (122ft) tall when its 15 metre (49ft) pedestal is taken into account.
By comparison a statue of Christ unveiled in Poland last year stands 36 metres (118ft) including its crown, making it the tallest such statue not including any base.
If the pedestal is included then a statue of Christ in Cochabamba, Bolivia, completed in 1994 is the tallest at 40m (133ft) followed by Christ the Redeemer in Rio at 38m (125ft).