Brazil: Reintegration of possession of Petrobras land is marked by one death, injured, gender discrimination and arrest of community leader
The repossession operation of a Petrobras land in the municipality of Itaguaí, in the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, where around 4,000 families were displaced since May 1st, was marked by conflict between the police and the families. The Civil Chamber Judge Alexandre Scisinio had overruled the repossession order, granting the settlers the right to remain on the land until the Public Defense Office issued an opinion at the end of 2021. The police released tear gas and fired water from an armored truck to disperse the occupants, destroying the inhabitants’ belongings. During the conflict, an elderly woman died, at least two children and a pregnant woman were seriously injured, members of the LGBTQIA+ community were verbally abused and Erick Vermelho, the leader of the movement, was arrested. The occupation, called “May 1st Refugee Camp”, had become a lifeline for the people who lost their income and had been evicted from their homes amid Brazil’s uncontrolled Covid-19 crisis. They had already set up their own cistern, a recycling plan and a communal kitchen. We invited Petrobras to comment on what happened, but the company did not do so.