On the 22nd of February, the injunction that, last December, had suspended the demolitions in Vila Harmonia, a community in the West Zone of Rio, was dropped. Two days later, demolition crews and police were back in the community, carrying out more evictions.
City Hall staffers told residents that the reason the injunction was cancelled was that the Public Defenders that represent the community presented nothing to the court official in charge, implying that it would be the Public Defenders’ inaction or lack of commitment that would have brought about their eviction. Public Defender Marília Farias was on the scene and denied these allegations.
City Hall staffers, police and demolition crews from private contractor Odebrecht continued their work into the evening, and even after the sun was down and their electricity had been cut off, some residents were still being made to move their things out of their homes so that the backhoe could bring them down.
The single remaining point of resistance is the Candomblé temple (traditionally called a Barracão) in the community, led by Sérgio, responsible for the temple. Later, on the 25th of February, a group of religious figures from the CETRAB (the Center for Afro-Brazilian Traditions) successfully postponed the demolition of the temple, even after part of it had already been brought down.
Vila Harmonia and other communities in the same region are being evicted for the widening of Avenida das Américas, which is part of the infra-structure planned for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. See our earlier report on the situation here.
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