Squatters have invaded an abandoned Rio de Janeiro residential building that Brazil’s one-time richest man was supposed to transform into a luxury hotel ahead of the 2016 Olympic games.
Around 100 people took over building in the middle class Flamengo neighborhood over the past two evenings. They demanded Tuesday that city officials provide them with housing.
Former billionaire Eike Batista bought the building to turn it into a Hilton hotel. The building’s former residents were evicted in late 2012, around the time that Batista’s mining and oil empire began to crumble. No construction work was carried out, and the building remained empty, turning into a breeding ground for mosquitoes and cockroaches.
Rio’s hotel shortage has long been considered a potential problem for the Olympics.