A judge in the city of Aparecida (180 km from São Paulo) prohibited the construction of a giant statue of Our Lady Aparecida and ordered the removal of five works in honor of the saint of public areas of the municipality.
The lower court decision accepts the request of the Brazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics. The city said it would appeal the decision.
The works were made by sculptor Gilmar Pinna in 2017, in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the date on which the image of the saint was found in the Paraíba do Sul river.
That year, the atheists' association filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of using public funds and the alleged donation of areas of the city for the construction of religious monuments.
Pinna received R$ 280,000 to build five monuments in city roundabouts. City Hall funded the work with funding from the Department of Development Support of the Resorts, the Secretary of Tourism of the state government.
The giant statue, which Pinna would have donated to the municipality, has since 2017 been dismantled and crammed into a public area.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon