Walking on the streets of Brumadinho, the small town south-west of Brazil’s sixth-largest city Belo Horizonte, the overriding sensation is of a community in mourning. At the entrance to the town, sitting atop a neatly mowed grassy knoll is a monument bearing the name of the municipality, which over the last 12 months has been vandalized time and time again. Currently, it reads: “Vale, murderers! 270 dead, it hurts so much!”
The target of this outrage is Brazilian mining giant Vale, which was once the biggest employer in Brumadinho. Around town, billboards bearing the company’s name have been desecrated, with locals painting over the Vale logo, daubing “murderers” and “we want justice!” in its place.