Christ the Redeemer lights turned off in Rio in solidarity with Vinicius Junior against racism
The winger was targeted with discriminatory comments and actions from the stands during Real Madrid's visit to Mestalla. The clash with Valencia was stopped briefly after the Brazilian identified a section of fans in the crowd who were racially abusing him. However, the match continued after those in the stands were warned.
This was the latest of several incidents where Vinicius has faced racist taunts during an away match in La Liga. Subsequently, the 22-year-old took to social media to complain, where he not only called authorities to take action against the offenders but posted a video to highlight that there were large sections in the crowd who attacked him verbally.
In coordination with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football, The Archdiocesan Sanctuary turned off the lights of Christ the Redeemer at 6pm local time, to condemn the incident that took place on Sunday.
"The Christ the Redeemer Archdiocesan Sanctuary repudiates the racist attacks suffered by the Brazilian player Vinicius Junior," the body said in an Instagram post.
"The lighting of the monument will be switched off as a symbol of the collective fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who suffer prejudice around the world."
Vinicius was moved by the initiative and expressed his gratitude on social media with a picture of the statue silhouetted against the moon, along with a caption vowing to be "ready and prepared" to "suffer more".
"Black and imposing. Christ the Redeemer was just like that. An action of solidarity that moves me. But I want, above all, to inspire and bring more light to our struggle," the caption read.
"I really appreciate all the chain of affection and support I've received in the last few months. Both in Brazil and around the world. I know exactly who's who. Count on me because the good ones are the majority and I won't give up.
"I have a purpose in life and if I have to suffer more and more so that future generations don't go through similar situations, I'm ready and prepared."
Preto e imponente. O Cristo Redentor ficou assim há pouco. Uma ação de solidariedade que me emociona. Mas quero, sobretudo, inspirar e trazer mais luz à nossa luta.— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) May 22, 2023
Agradeço demais toda a corrente de carinho e apoio que recebi nos últimos meses. Tanto no Brasil quanto mundo… pic.twitter.com/zVBcD4eF8k
The Brazilian government had earlier appealed to Spanish authorities to punish those responsible for the racist attacks. Moreover, several superstars from the footballing world, including Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand, Neymar and Brazil legend Ronaldo, have shown their support to Vinicius.