Confrontation Between Rio Police and Squatters
Via the BBC: Clashes as police evict squatters in Rio de Janeiro
A huge police operation to evict hundreds of families from abandoned buildings in Rio de Janeiro has ended with violent clashes and some injuries.
More than 1,500 police officers had arrived at dawn to evict nearly 5,000 people from the site, belonging to a telecommunication company.
According to the report, many of the residents went peacefully, but others “threw rocks at police” and “Vehicles were set on fire and supermarkets were looted.”
The city sent social services to provide aid, although the extent of it was not clear from the article. And, indeed:
"Teams of social workers were on site, but only 177 squatters accepted the support," the local government was quoted as saying by the Globo news portal.
The story caught my eye because communities of this nature underscore the tremendous economic gaps in Brazilian society despite the substantial strides that have been made in the last decade or so.
I also figure that moves such as this are likely linked to to image concerns by the the Brazilian government as we approach the World Cup and the Olympics. And, indeed, the story notes:
Owned by a telecommunications company, the buildings are not far from one of the venues for the 2016 Olympic Games, which will take place in Rio.
Of course, the general preference to avoid the creation of a new favela may have been sufficient motivation. Also from the story:
The families began occupying the abandoned plot in northern Rio 10 days ago, moving in from the city’s favelas or shanty towns.
The site was already being called Rio’s newest favela.
The BBC’s Julia Carneiro in the Brazilian city says pictures on local media showed how fast work was progressing.
"The area was quickly divided into tiny plots, shacks were being raised and some residents already had illegal power connections," she says.