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16 Feb 2016

Adam Talbot, Claire Lepercq, David Robertson, Rio on Watch (Brazil/USA)

Brazil: Govt. once again evicts residents from Vila Autódromo community affected by Olympic Park construction, says community

“‘What Can We Do Against Armed Troops?’ Illegal Demolitions in Vila Autódromo, ”, 11 February 2016

Vila Autódromo, the favela fighting eviction on the edge of the Rio 2016 Olympic Park, has been under intense pressure for months. City officials have made threats that residents “will leave in pain,” and in January Municipal Guards built a new wall dividing the community, isolating some houses in the Olympic building site. Despite the residents’ award-winning plan to upgrade the community and repeated guarantees that they can stay from Mayor Eduardo Paes, the City is intensifying its efforts to evict the remaining residents. Last week, the City obtained an order for the removal of title over the Residents’ Association building, but that order was suspended after the intervention of Rio’s public defenders…[On]…February 11, the pressure increased again with the shock demolition of three houses behind the Residents’ Association building. No prior warning was given to residents, who were terrified to wake up at 6am and find that numerous busloads of shock troops, firefighters and City officials, including Barra de Tijuca sub-Mayor Alex Costa, had entered the community with demolition equipment. They destroyed three homes behind the Residents’ Association building and football pitch, ignoring complaints from residents. As community activist Maria da Penha put it: “what can we do against armed troops?” The City’s actions today are at direct odds with the Mayor’s statements, made on January 19, that only one family in Vila Autódromo still had to be removed. His statements…made no suggestion that the homes by the Residents’ Association or the Association building itself had to be removed…