Bach defends Rio Games amid environmental protest

Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:04pm EST
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By Andrew Downie

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Olympic chief Thomas Bach defended Rio de Janeiro’s venues and legacy projects on Saturday after protesters gathered outside his hotel to loudly criticize the environmental impact of the 2016 Summer Games.

A few dozen protesters chanted "IOC go home!" and held up banners calling International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Bach a "nature killer".

At least two women invaded the hotel overlooking Copacabana beach.

"You want to see robbers, they're here, the IOC," shouted one woman who fought her way past burly security guards.

The women did not get out of the hotel lobby and were a long way from Bach, who was hosting executive meetings on the second floor.

Bach faced the protesters after giving a press conference wrapping up an almost week-long visit to the Brazilian city and, although he offered to talk to the protesters, he was shouted down.

They were complaining about water use in building a new golf course and what they said were trees cut down near the venue for sailing events.

Rio is one of several Brazilian cities suffering from water shortages and protesters dubbing themselves 'Occupy Golf' have gathered outside the course in recent weeks.   Continued...

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach (C) speaks during the IOC Executive Board meeting in Rio de Janeiro February 28, 2015. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares