Rio De Janeiro, May 13 : Dozens of striking officials in Brazil have prevented people from reaching the Christ the Redeemer statue, the top tourist attraction in Rio de Janeiro.

The protesters, employees of the environment ministry and related government departments, have been on strike since April 8, the employees association Ibama said in a statement Wednesday.

Tourists who tried to reach the top of Corcovado Mountain, where the statue stands, were prevented from doing so Wednesday morning by the protesters.

The demonstrators only allowed workers cleaning up and road repairing works in surrounding Tijuca National Forest, where numerous mudslides occurred last month.

Some 600 government employees are on strike in Rio de Janeiro's Itatiaia, Serra dos Orgaos, Bocaina and Tijuca parks. The association is demanding pay hike for the employees.

Christ the Redeemer, which draws some 1.8 million tourists each year, has been surrounded by scaffolding since February as part of a restoration project.

The statue was vandalized several weeks ago.

Christ the Redeemer, constructed in 1931, was declared a national heritage site in December.

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