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Police and squatters clash in Rio do Janeiro next to the Maracana stadium

Saturday, April 12th 2014 - 08:12 UTC
Full article 11 comments
In anticipation of the World Cup Brazil has stepped up security efforts in the metropolis In anticipation of the World Cup Brazil has stepped up security efforts in the metropolis
Police responded to attacks with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades Police responded to attacks with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades

A dozen people were hurt and 27 arrested Friday in clashes between police and some of the roughly 5,000 squatters occupying a vacant industrial property in Rio do Janeiro, Brazil's second-largest city. Militants among the squatters set fire to several vehicles including a police patrol as they sought to remain on the site in the impoverished Engenho Novo neighborhood just steps away from the iconic Maracana stadium.

 Most of the occupiers left peacefully when more than 1,600 Rio de Janeiro state police began the court-ordered eviction operation at 5:00 a.m., but some confronted the cops with sticks, stones and Molotov cocktails. Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades.

With the start of the World Cup two months away, Brazil has stepped up security efforts in the metropolis, where tens of thousands of football fans will fly in for the tournament and which will stage seven matches, including the July 13 final at Maracana.

Following the eviction cranes and tractors immediately moved in to demolish wooden huts built around the building — many still full of the belongings residents had had no time to pack, with hundreds of desperate and angry residents and neighbors poured into the street protesting the loss of their new homes.

”This is what happens in the (World) Cup country,” was a repeatedly heard lament.

Among those arrested at the scene was a reporter for O Globo newspaper who said he was prevented from using his cellphone to videotape a fistfight between a police officer and one of the squatters.

The confusion and violence later spread to neighboring favelas, where a police car and several buses and trucks were burned, and banks and supermarkets were looted.

Meanwhile, on-edge police officers hit a pedestrian with pepper spray, and then when witnesses protested he had not done anything to provoke the spraying, another officer pulled a gun but fired no shots.

The shantytown emerged on March 31 when about 5,000 people who were homeless or tired of paying high rents in other slums decided to commandeer the building, which had been empty for years, and the surrounding area, where they quickly built makeshift homes.

Slogans on signs at the site linked the plight of the poor and the homeless to the large sums Brazil is spending to host the World Cup soccer tournament.

Categories: Politics, Brazil, Entertainment.

Top Comments

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  • ChrisR

    I thought they had these people there to show the WC visitors that Brazil was now a First World Country, or was it to be the entertainment for the waiting fans?

    FIFA, what a farce of an organisation.

    Apr 12th, 2014 - 12:36 pm 0
  • Jack Bauer

    FIFA must be regretting the day they agreed to Brazil hosting the World Cup. Their own bloody fault.
    But all this social unrest and the protests of these and other 'invaders' of private property though , is just the result of the 1988 Constitution, which contemplates all the “rights” , but “no obligations” of the 'people'...
    The PT has a history of instigating this type of action to destabilize the governments in the States they do not “control”, and today, the monster they created is out of control.....but with the PT's inclination to turn a blind eye to anything that comes from the s0-called “opressed” segments of society, these problems aren't going to come to an end any time soon.

    Apr 12th, 2014 - 04:10 pm 0
  • Brasileiro

    FIFA is not sad. They never made ​​so much money in life.

    Apr 13th, 2014 - 02:25 pm 0
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