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9 Jul 2021

Vice News

Brazil: During repossession of Petrobras, an elderly woman dies, children and pregnant woman are injured and LGBTQIA+ people suffer discrimination

“Brazil Tear-Gassed Poor People on Land an Oil Company Wasn’t Even Using”, 09 July 2021

...Police forcefully evicted several hundred Brazilian families who had occupied a long-vacant site owned by the state-run oil giant Petrobras in Itaguaí, on the western edges of Rio de Janeiro...Faced with resistance, the police released thick clouds of tear gas and fired water from an armored truck to disperse the occupants. An elderly woman died in the scramble, and at least two children and a pregnant woman were seriously injured, according to those impacted. Members of the LGBTQ+ community were verbally abused, and Erick Vermelho, the leader of the movement, was arrested...Many of the inhabitants’ belongings—clothes, foods and personal identification documents—were destroyed when fires broke out across the campsite and backhoes crushed the tents. The settlers, not allowed to retrieve their surviving possessions, lost everything...The Human Rights Commission, an autonomous government body, counted over 3,000 occupants—993 mothers and heads of the family, 1,854 children, and 427 elderly people...Petrobras, which had let the land lie vacant for more than three decades with no plan for development, filed a lawsuit to evict the families. But when the military police arrived to remove the settlers on May 7, Rio de Janeiro Civil Chamber Judge Alexandre Scisinio overruled the repossession order. He granted the settlers the right to remain on the land until Rio de Janeiro’s main human rights body, the Public Defense Office, issued an opinion at the end of 2021...Petrobras filed a second repossession order “alleging new facts'' to the Supreme Court of Justice...In a statement, Petrobras’s communications department told VICE World News that “Teams from the city of Itaguaí registered people who expressed interest in going to the shelters. Petrobras is funding food, mats, blankets and kits with alcohol gel and masks for the families sent to the shelters”...