A dozen houses in the Mangueira slums of Rio de Janeiro have been demolished, and residents have been removed at gun point by the government of Brazil in order to build a parking lot for the upcoming World Cup.
People who were living in these homes were targeted by militarized riot cops, sent in by the government to push them into the streets. They were not even allowed to gather their personal belongings.
Impoverished residents were forcefully evicted in large numbers by the government: the riot cops even threatened to kill children in their mothers’ arms.
This video shows even more brutality: cops teargassing women for simply passing by; riot cops repeatedly attacking locals, throwing teargas grenades into their homes or aiming straight at them, and terrorizing and bullying defenseless people on the streets.
Faced with another episode of brutal oppression in the name of the World Cup and FIFA (an organisation which has kept silent about crimes, and racist/social abuses committed by the government of Brazil), activists from Rio de Janeiro organised to help people in the slums resist the governments violent gentrification attack.
The struggle of the people who were attacked by the state police in the name of FIFA is perhaps best expressed in a short poem posted by Mídia NINJA:
“Inhabited by people so simple and so poor, / Who only have the sun to cover them all, / How can you, Mangueira, still sing?” (our note – Mangueira is a very popular Carnival Group’s name in Brazil.)
Organização Anarquista Terra e Liberdade OATL wrote the following: “Here is the real sense of popular power: DIRECT CLASS ACTION. Earlier today (yesterday), the population revolted against being evicted from their houses. They built barricades and resisted the police violence. It’s not even dark yet (our note – riot cops in Brazil attack poor communities especially at night, videos from last night’s attack here) and the faces of the professional killers showed up on the alleys again!”
In October and November of last year, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro had promised the people living in the Mangueira that they would not be affected by the construction the government is planning for the World Cup. Then, suddenly people found themselves threatened at gunpoint to leave their homes.
Impoverished blacks and indigenous people only gained the attention of the government when it came time for their lives to be destroyed or sacrificed for the sake of the world cup; which will enrich over night the lives of real estate speculators, tourist business owners, and companies getting government contracts, to name a few. People are enraged that the government refuses to spend money on schools and hospitals, but throws away billions, of which it borrowed a third, on creating future situations of poverty for the Brazilian working people who will have to pay them back, with interest.
The picture above posted by Ninja Media’s Facebook page shows how ruthlessly the government destroys the lives of poor people. What are they supposed to do now? They can go to a shelter or sleep on the streets, as this woman explains in this video.
But there’s an everlasting message from these events happening in Brazil that makes them so impactful.
“The slogan “NO CUP” is very clear and powerful, and it needs to be read just once to be understood. One of its possible meanings is that the World Cup will no longer be the same after its hosting by Brazil. From now on, where there is World Cup, there will also arise a social movement (against it). These social movements will stand up, will express their demands, will keep their forums next to this event, and they will make known to the world the causes of the people of the host country.”
When impoverished people took to the streets to protest the lack of electricity, the state of Brazil sent in riot cops who responded with live ammunition. On January 6, cops opened fire at residents of the Morro São João Mill neighborhood, in New North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, who were protesting a lack of electricity for weeks in their community.
In Brazil, people are the perpetual victims of the state and the capitalist ruling class. Activists say the government plans more evictions to meet the demands of property speculation by the city ahead of the World Cup. These evictions will devastate, compromise, and potentially end the lives of many people.
Organização Anarquista Terra e Liberdade OATL: “Police are killers. They only serve to oppress, kill and evict people. Destroy the genocidal State that kills especially poor and black people.”
The anarchists from Organização Anarquista Terra e Liberdade OATL explained that the cries “NO WORLD CUP” which engulf the streets of Brazil these days are still misunderstood. The protests against FIFA’s World Cup in Brazil radicalized as people started to ask why the government is investing huge amounts of money in stadiums and useless tourism propaganda, while women give birth in hospitals’ waitings rooms, or on the streets. The world cup still remains the priority while doctors have no medicine to treat sick people. Schools are scarce, and where they are not they are decaying.
But what enraged people and determined them to reject the World Cup were the forced evictions, which threw thousands of families from their homes into the streets employing unjust and unimaginable violence.
“This violence,” write the OATL, “comes from the State’s war on poor going on for many years! The image below is a subpoena that some residents received in October 2010, as they were given the deadline of 0 days to leave their residences. The prefetura had the audacity to distribute these subpoenas without offering anything or very little as compensation to the residents. Let people revolt.”
The first victims were the indigenous people in the village of Maracanã, who recently won their case in court, as a judge found that their eviction and expropriation by the government to build facilities for the World Cup was illegal. The indigenous have won the right in court to go back to their village as they are to be reinstated with possession of it. Despite the court order, police still refuse to let them back in, but indigenous people continue their fight.
Video via Coletivo Vinhetando
Events against police oppression, government and FIFA’s World Cup have mushroomed on facebook.