Following its three-month tour of Brazilian cities, the Olympic torch has come to Rio. Far from a smooth transit through the city center, the torch was met by hundreds of protestors who have been demonstrating to highlight the negative social impact of the Games.

Back in 2009, Rio was promised a grand infrastructural overhaul and more attention paid towards urban development in the run up to the 2016 Games. However, measures aimed at ‘beautifying’ the city for the Games and its international attendees have arguably had very little positive impact on some of Rio’s poorest and most disenfranchised residents.

The Rio state government have insisted that the regeneration of the city will create a welcoming environment for more than half a million tourists who will be arriving in the city for the opening ceremony on Friday. Many critics, on the other hand, have directed attention towards the millions of Rio residents who have not seen any improvements as a result of the £11.3 billion being spent on the Olympic Games. With increased tension in the city and the quashing of protests by the state government’s security forces, the Games at Rio is causing divides amongst both locals and international onlookers. HSPS and PPE applicants should consider the impact of development policies on different demographics, and in particular what development in practice might mean for different people.

Archeology and Anthropology and HSPS students might consider questions such as ‘Rio is a better place for whom?’, and ‘what role does “protest” play in national politics?’.

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