Families evicted due to Belo Monte Dam faced police violence- Altamira
About 150 families from neighborhoods that will be flooded by the construction of the Belo Monte dam occupied land on June 17, from which they were violently evicted by police five days later. Altamira, Brazil. 17 June 2011
About 150 families from neighborhoods that will be flooded by the construction of the Belo Monte dam were violently evicted on Wednesday, June 22, from land they occupied earlier this week in Altamira, Pará, Brazil.
Without a warrant, civil and military police used rubber bullets and tear gas to evict the occupiers. 40 people were arrested and taken to police - including three minors.
According to the Civil Police, the busy urban area belongs to Eletronorte, in the city of Altamira.
The police action was violent, according to the homeless.
The previous day, about 120 families were removed and three people were arrested - among them the journalist from the NGO Xingu Vivo, charged with trespass. Witnesses said the military police used pepper spray.
According to the coordinator of Xingu Vivo, Antonia Melo, the town has suffered with the growth of urban occupations and homeless populations since the licenses were given. "With the installation license of Belo Monte, the situation is bordering on a public calamity," she says.
This is the second urban occupation in the last fortnight, totaling about 400 families in the process of exodus home. In all, more than 6,000 families are directly affected by flooding in the city of Altamira, the main urban center hit by the dam.
The housing bubble and growing uncertainties about the compensations to the poorest populations of Altamira has carried the climate and causing spontaneous exodus in the city. According to the homeless, the flood of migrants arriving in Altamira is urging rents up for the stilt houses. Unable to afford the high costs, former residents of the poorest areas are forced to leave their homes.
(Text: Ruy Sposati/Xingu Vivo)