Not so bullish: Sao Paulo stock exchange removes bull statue

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People pose with a replica of the ‘Charging Bull’ (known as the Wall Street Bull) statue outside Sao Paulo’s Stock Exchange (B3) headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil. AFP

The Sao Paulo stock exchange has taken down a statue of a bull reminiscent of the one on Wall Street after being hit by protests and a fine for installing it without authorisation.

The one-tonne “golden bull”, as it was dubbed, was installed last week in the heart of Brazil’s economic capital.

But it immediately became a target of graffiti, with messages such as “Tax the rich” painted on it, as well as protests over inequality, including one in which anti-poverty activists held a barbeque beside it for the homeless.

That was followed by a ruling Tuesday that the stock exchange failed to obtain the necessary permit from the city’s Urban Landscape Protection Commission.

The bull “was primarily advertising or promotional in nature,” and should not be installed on a public sidewalk, the commission ruled.

On Tuesday night, a crane removed the three-metre tall bull, which was wrapped in plastic.

Installed on November 16, the statue drew immediate comparisons with “Charging Bull,” the famed bronze sculpture by Italian artist Arturo Di Modica installed in New York’s financial district in the wake of the 1987 stock market crash.

However, the Sao Paulo stock exchange said the New York statue was not the inspiration for the Brazilian work, which was created by artist and architect Rafael Brancatelli.

Brazil is one of the world’s most unequal countries, a problem that has deepened with the coronavirus pandemic, whose economic fallout has hit hardest among the poor.

The Sao Paulo stock exchange is the largest in Latin America.