By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — The city of Rio officials announced Tuesday a month-long forced eviction and demolition of favela Metrô-Mangueira in Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone), which sits adjacent to the metro train line. Residents of homes that are being demolished in the community have been protesting and threaten to make a human barrier to prevent access to the area.
Police forces from the São Cristóvão battalion, including the Shock Battalion (Batalhão de Choque, BPChoq) have been on the scene, and will be for the duration to enforce the demolition and removal of residents.
Protestors started Tuesday evening and have continue through last night (Thursday) disrupting the Linha 2 metro train line that makes stops along São Cristóvão and Triagem near the favela, throwing trash and rubble onto the train tracks, building barricades ignited in flames along the entryway of the favela and closing down the Avenida Radial Oeste expressway.
According to the city officials, the 662 families who lived in favela began to be relocated in 2010 through the federal program Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My Home, My Life). The majority of families were moved to the condominiums Mangueira I and Mangueira II, adjacent to where the demolitions will take place.
The automotive plant that will be built on the site after demolition and clean-up will concentrate on commercial activities and services for the automotive industry, which is hoping to create more jobs and generate more income for the surrounding area. There are also plans for a park for recreational activities, a grade school and skating rink, according to authorities.
The president of the Commission of Human Rights, Marcelo Chalreo, planned to meet with the mayor to discuss this situation on behalf of the residents of the community Wednesday but has been postponed until further notice.
Forced evictions has been a human rights issue in Rio for some time, and last August, the Vila Autódromo favela community, adjacent to the Olympic Park site in Barra da Tijuca, had won a victory for the survival of their homes.
At the time the Mayor had met with the Popular Committee on the World Cup and the Olympics, an advocacy group comprising of human rights organizations, citizens and academics which emerged following the Pan-American Games in 2007 to defend housing rights.
The Committee presented their report on mega-events and human rights violations in Rio de Janeiro and emphasized that over 40,000 citizens faced threats to their housing rights as families from 26 communities had already lost their homes.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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