More than 8,000 families will be evicted from their homes without alternative accommodation in the near future. The government of the state of Minas Gerais said that they are planning a “mega-operation” that will dislodge the families of three communities of the Isidoro region in the city of Belo Horizonte. Legal experts say the process has not yet ended and expulsion is considered irregular.
The communities affected by the eviction will be Vitória, Rosa Leão and Esperança, which originally arose spontaneously, but are organized urban occupations today. Residents tried to strike an agreement with the Municipality of Belo Horizonte and the Minas Gerais government in October 2013 but the state government abandoned the negotiations on July 24, 2014.
In his blog, Frei Gilvander Moreira, a supporter of the occupations, published a list of 15 reasons for authorities to heed in order to avoid “a tragedy of unimaginable proportions.” According to him, “the people will not allow their homes to be demolished,” because many were built with loans and minimum wages. The fear of a violent police attack is great.
On August 6th and 7th, residents met with the state government and the Military Police. According to Rafael Reis Bittencourt, a member of the Popular Brigades, the meetings served only to “inform” the residents of their impending eviction rather than offer any sort of conciliation. “We believe that this attitude is too hasty, even without exhausting peaceful means,” he said.
He points out that prosecutors filed Civil Action lawsuits, demonstrating legal errors in the mass eviction, including the absence of providing alternative housing to families. Last week, the president of the Court of Minas Gerais presented a proposal for mediation of the conflict, which was also not taken into consideration by the local government. Without the right to legal defense, the residents held their own meetings to decide what to do and chose unanimously to remain in their homes. On alert mode, human rights defenders claim that “this may be one of the largest mass evictions in Brazil.”
How have other communities around the world dealt with threats of forced displacement? Do you know anyone who’s been affected by a mass eviction?
Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.