RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian police on Wednesday evicted almost 200 families who had occupied a public housing development in Rio de Janeiro’s Guadalupe neighborhood.
The squatters were served with an eviction notice at 9:00 a.m. and soon were seen streaming out of the complex loaded down with mattresses, stoves, televisions and other belongings.
Offering no resistance, most of the unauthorized occupants toted their possessions to the Goga da Ema “favela,” or shantytown, which lies next to the development built under President Dilma Rousseff’s “My house, my life” program for low-cost housing.
Though men armed with rifles were filmed accompanying the squatters when they occupied the development on Nov. 9, no weapons were in evidence on Wednesday.
Several dozen squatters took advantage of the presence of the media to mount a protest over local authorities’ failure to send social workers and psychologists to assist them.
“I want to know from authorities what will become of us,” said Davison Leandro, an unemployed truck driver. “We have no shelter.”
Demonstrators chanted: “We want jobs, we want jobs.”
Gogo da Ema is regarded as one of Rio’s most violent favelas.
The apartments are finished and ready to be allocated by lottery to their new owners.
The federal government’s goal is to end this year having met the goal of 2.75 million new low-cost housing units set when the program began in 2011.
The next phase of the initiative, which starts in 2015, envisions the construction of 3 million additional units.
Roughly 5 million Brazilians lack suitable housing, according to activists.