At 4 am on Friday, 1,500 BOPE killer cops took under siege a building, in northern Rio, which had been occupied by homeless working people, teargasing and attacking people in their sleep. Another person was executed during protests against the military occupation of Mare, on Saturday. He is the first person the marines executed since they imposed the military occupation of Mare. His name is Jefferson Rodrigues da Silva, 18 year old worker. He was executed while protesting the military occupation.
Residents of Mare issued a manifesto rejecting the military occupation, that reads: “It is evident that those who use the machinery of war against their own population, such as the tanks that currently occupy our streets, are not seeking dialogue, and even less so participation, and are thus by no means concerned to guarantee our most basic rights. Tanks and helicopters pointing their arms at us stand for much more than just violations of rights, this stands for a violation of any idea of a democratic state of rights. A military occupation is just beginning and yet it has already failed in what it proclaims to be. It is apparent to us as just one more brute attack against territories of the urban poor…. What kind of parties are these that declare war against citizens? What kind of State is this, that prefers to arm itself more and more, attack with more and more violence its own citizens? What kind of international community is this, silently attending the spectacle? What kind of FIFA is this, what kind of Olympic Committee is this, not at all concerned about the attack on the poor that is in course since the decision was taken to host these mega events in Brazil? Events that are exclusively interested in their millionaire businesses, won at our costs?… 50 years after a military coup that opened the way for a twenty year military dictatorship in Brazil, it is more than just concerning the positive gloss with which the current military invasion is being presented by the corporate press (Globo and others). … We do not want this project for our city and even less do we accept that it is put into practice by use of military troops invading our neighbourhoods. We will continue our struggle for a Maré and a Rio de Janeiro without oppression and violence. Stop pointing your arms at us! No to the military occupation of the Maré and any territories of the popular classes! No to tortures and deaths in the favelas!” Source
Residents evicted at gunpoint from the building they occupied in Telerj believe that two children and an old man have been killed – it is not known who are their names, or if they were killed due to the teargas or the smoke from the building set on fire during the forced eviction.
27 people had been arrested when they defended against the police attack.
On March 30th, thousands of working homeless people – some say 8,000, others 3,000 , others 5,000 – occupied the abandoned public building in the community of Oi (known as Telerj), in the north of Rio de Janeiro.
For some it was the first time in years when they had a roof over their heads, since they can’t afford any from their paychecks.
It’s the latest crime committed by the state in the name of FIFA and IOC’s capitalist accumulation, under the cover of the World Cup and the Olympic Games.
30,000 workers for the sites that both entities push for are on strike, there have been no negotiations, as IOC’s representative is expected in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. However, the dispute around this building exposes the corruption behind the real estate industry.
Assisted by firing squads flying around in helicopters, the armed police attacked them into their sleep, with lethal ammunition, rubber bullets and teargas. Hundreds were wounded.
People who tried to save some of their belongings had been arrested at gunpoint.
The ”crime” committed by these people: they just wanted a decent place to live.
”They shot their weapons to kill us,” said one resident.
”We were trapped inside the building. They told us that no one would get out alive,” said another resident. According to another resident, BOPE’s intention was to ”choke” the working people inside the building. No media were allowed.
“We must not overlook the modus operandi and the culture (of the police): butchering people in need, terrorize children who do not know the state otherwise than by the hands of the police, committing abuses, jeopardise the physical integrity and life of innocent people.” Source
“It is worth remembering that the military police was reformulated in 1964 to do cutting-edge work of repressing popular uprisings and promoting dictatorship executions hygienists. Even after the reopening, the military police have showed its performance: no dialogue, just open fire.” Source
People tell what happened in this video translated in English, their testimonies have been recorded by Jornal A Nova Democracia:
”They suffocate people, they beat everyone, they don’t let the media in”, said another resident who barely escaped the violence of the BOPE. Source
“Invade private property and then don’t want to come out? Beat them, then,” said an official from the Social Welfare and Human Rights. But the state is again the criminal in this case too, since it lied that the building was private property. Why did the state lie? Because it is accomplice to private companies selling public buildings illegally?
Media such as Globo tried to justify BOPE’s open war by playing the same old lies: they accused the people attacked by cops – for no other reason than that of being poor and homeless – of being ”drug dealers”. The servility of Globo turned against them however, when cops beat and arrested one of their journalists during the eviction of the building in Oi. Irony at its best, but not even this stopped Globo from spreading police’s lies.
In spite of the brutality of the police attack, people still resisted: they burnt two of the police buses and one of their cars, which had the police fire live ammunition at them.
A military police officer jumped from the car pointing the gun at people when she saw residents putting one of the police busses on fire.
In this video people tell the story of the police attack: “I was inside when the Choque (BOPE, shock police troops) broke in throwing gas bombs. There are children inside that are dead! 2 dead kids! We don’t want war, just a place to live. Where are you, Paes (Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio)? What are you gonna do for us? You just want the cup, we don’t. Where is the human rights for us?”
“Have you see what they done to us? I was out working and everything that is mine is inside! I live there! I live there!”
“We just want a place to live, but they want war, so we will go on war. If they want peace, we do want peace too, but if they want war, we want war too.”
“This is a shame! They should’ve come and talked to us but they came breaking things! There are children inside that are sick and they didn’t let us take them out. They made a war! They came breaking everything! We wanted to talk!”
The building does not belong to the company Oi (former Telerj), as mainstream media reported, but to the Union. “According to Gustavo Gindre, professor, researcher and activist for the right and Democratization of communications, reintegration (given by the judge of the 6th Circuit Court of the judicial district Méier Regional, Maria Aparecida Silveira de Abreu) was given to non-owner. Oi would be as a faithful trustee of heritage of the Union and, in the case, has not complied with its duties. Gindre criticizes the way the media has treated the subject as mere repossession. About racing to the reintegration, the lawyer Julio Bianchini explained that in the case of goods by the Union, if it wasn’t the Federal Court that gave this reintegration, this removal is illegal.” Source
Hours after the military police threw them back on the streets, people occupied a justice building and camped outside the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro.
The building people occupied and were evicted from is public, said Gustavo Gindre, an activist for the right and Democratisation of communications, trying to counter-attack the lies spread by the mainstream media which justified the police’s war on the occupiers by claiming was private property. ”They reduced this whole issue to a matter of repossession”, said Gingre, which does not correspond to facts.
Another lawyer Julio Bianchini explained that police’s eviction of the occupiers was in fact illegal.
The vas majority of the occupiers were forced out on the streets by the rents skyrocketing after their communities have been ”pacified” (read militarized) and turned into real estates bubbles. Only the filthy rich, like David Beckham can afford to live here – he is to pay 1 million dollars for a house in the community of Vidigal, recently ”pacified”.
The working people in Brazil making 350 dollars a month and suddenly having to pay 200 on rent could not afford to live there anymore and had been forced to sleep under the clear sky.
”I had to leave my community, the Jacarezinho, because the rent was very demanding, I could not even eat from money that remained after the rent was paid,” said Adriano Rodrigues de Oliveira, a mechanic.
Rather than offer an alternative housing for thse 5 000 people, the state invaded the Favela Telerj and dumped violently families on the streets, explained social activits. Source
The latest attack against the residents of Oi comes a week since the community of Mare – one of the most politically active – is under the occupation of the army and the military police so that FIFA and IOC can get their swallowed public money sponsored stadiums and facilities. People in Mare resumed their protests against the military occupation: the military might the state had deployed against them failed to intimidate them, as state police murdering children is left unaccounted.
The attacks on favelas – which have been fortresses of resistance of the black people – fundamentally expose the underlying state racism.
Even statistics prove this: ”70 percent of the people killed in Brazil are black people. 60 percent of the young black people have been arrested or suffered other forms of police violence. With every 3 people killed, 2 are black. In universities in Brazil only 2 percent of the students are black. Every two hours a young black man dies of violent death in Brazil. We must stop this apartheid,” wrote Francisco Keys for #MídiaInformal
Another terrible confirmation of this came as news of a 17 year old black teenager, suffering from mental issues, beaten to death by a mob of 30 people in Espírito Santo.
This is how the pacification took place in one of the communities of Mare: ”Police invading houses; “playing ninja”, threatening people with death; smashing and stealing household goods; treating residents with verbal violence, pointing guns at their faces; constraining and assaulting children; collective imprisonment of minors who protested because of the death of a teenager; embarrassment and arrest of the elderly; terrorizing people residents and making them to run away scared to death on the streets, wearing only underwear.”
”This invasion was as quiet as some other raids in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. We know that this is only the beginning of a whole wave of oppression through the extermination policy and militarization in the slums. It is imperative to strengthen the resistance. Slum dwellers, social movements, human rights defenders and all rights and all who fight for a just and egalitarian society, join the resistance struggle and the uprising in all slums! Favela resists. Viva favela!” Source
Working poeople who are forced to live on the streets have started to strike back in São Paulo too: more than 20 empty buildings were occupied by people needing a house, in a coordinated action between the front of a struggle for housing, the Popular Movements Center and the Union of Popular Housing. More than 3,000 families in need were rehomed thanks to this action.
In recent years, real estate speculation has led to an explosion of rents and house prices in São Paulo, too. Land prices trippled and rents doubled. Courts have dumped on the streets thousands of families to favor the rich.
Meanwhile, strikers against the World Cup and IOC are spreading. Workers of major projects for the Olympic Games Rio 2016, as the line 4 Metro South, Transolimpica, Transcarioca, Transoeste and recovery of the João Havelange Stadium, the Engenhão, among others, decided to continue their strike until Monday when new negotiations for better pay are to take place. 30,000 workers demand that the employers increase their wages by 9% and payment of overtime.
500 state employees of the Rio City Hall marched again through the city, as they have been on strike for a week now for better pay.
In addition to anti-World Cup laws which will consider anyone who protests FIFA’s event a ”terrorist”, senators want to force protesters to inform them of the time and the route of the protests, which is yet another way the State attempts to intimidate and repress social movements.
All these happen as people in Brazil try to break the state protection granted to former fascist military junta, whose policies are creeping their way back through the doors of FIFA and IOC.
Against the violence of the state and the criminality of the capitalist class, people in the favelas have only their words and sometimes stones. Favelas are vibrant and creative communities, and their poetry and music has always been their most powerful resistance. This, of course is not reported by the mainstream media, which continue to lie and criminalize the poor working people in these communities as ”drug dealers”, while covering up for the real drug dealers protected by the military police in the favelas they ”pacified” (read militarized and turned into real estate bubbles).
Since this is too mainstream for the mainstream media, here’s a poem called ”The Tribes Of Time”, by M.A.S.U ( Movimento Artístico Solidário Universal):
”Tribos do Tempo:
Somos gente sem terra, flautas sem sopro
Somos ódio sem guerra, o silêncio no estrondo
Nativos da pedra, histórias sem rumo
Somos tribos do tempo acorrentados por sonhos
Somos tribos do tempo dos sonhos…
As Armas e os Ladrões defendendo as orações
Desarmando o caminho e mostrando ao destino
Que assim somos reis que imperam a solidão
Num vaso sem raiz, esmorecendo os jardins…”
The “civilized” world is still silent about Brazil. Probably football and capitalism are more important to the “civilized” ones, than the lives of poor kids in the favelas.
Sources of photos: Coletivo Carranca and social activists from MidiAtivismo_rjO, Jornal A Nova Democracia, Mídia Informal, Anonymous Rio, Black Bloc RJ, Black Bloc SP Fase II, Organização Anarquista Terra e Liberdade OATL, Ação Antifascista Brasil
The report below was posted earlier from RioOnWatch.org, with the mention that the media source they quote represents the capitalists’ points of view, particularly when they criminalize the occupiers as “drug dealers” and intend to incriminate social media activists for people occupying the building, ignorant of the fact that these people are working and their paycheck does not cover the rent which exploded due to real estate speculation when their communities were “pacified” (read militarized):
“Many families came from “pacified” (militarized) favelas of Mandela, Rato Molhado, Jacarezinho, Cosmos, Manguinhos, Duque de Caxias and Morro do Sampaio. Others who lived homeless on nearby streets also participated in the occupation. The space was collectively distributed as families arrived and began to erect their single-space rudimentary barracos (make-shift shelters) made from plywood and reclaimed materials, without any roof, furniture, or floor. Many barracos (typically 4‘ x 4’ in size) were built on the insides and rooftops of the buildings, whilst others continue to emerge in the remaining unoccupied outdoor spaces. Speculative housing prices, inadequate health and education services, expensive travel, threat of removal, risk of flooding, landslides, and other issues they felt were ignored by the state were among the reasons articulated by the newly formed community as to what drove them to occupy the space.” Source
RioOnWatch.org: “Until recently, Joseli, 61 (pictured right), lived in a rented single-room house in Manguinhos with her daughter and four grandchildren where they paid R$600 a month. She continues to earn the minimum wage of R$724 per month in her job as a cook where she has diligently worked for over 30 years. Despite her hard work, she stresses that wages do not meet the basic costs of living. She went on to explain that, “When the children get sick, either there are no doctors, or no medication in the hospital,” echoing a common sentiment across the occupation. Joseli looks forward to her 65th birthday when she can claim her bus pass paid for by the state.
Only 4.5km from the Telerj site, the Maracanã stadium, site of the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, offers a physical manifestation for the occupiers to focus their sentiment. Marcela, 26, lived in Jacarezinho with her son and husband until recently. Her husband works long hours delivering paint by bicycle around the North Zone, but still they continue to struggle to pay for basic goods. “A worker is worthless in this city,” she explained. “What is this [effort]all for, if we can’t even pay our way? I just want a little house… It’s no comparison to what they have spent on the [World] Cup.”
(Inset photo credits to the author and Ninja; album credits to Ninja)