By Solange Engelmann*
From the MST web site
Continuing the fight against evictions and forced removals of families by Brazil during the pandemic (which, after a period of decrease, continues with a trend of increasing in the number of cases and contaminations), this Tuesday (6/21), a group of popular movements and organizations that are part of the Zero Eviction Campaign, including the MST, held a day of mobilizations through networks and streets across the country.
The Zero Eviction Campaign demands from the Federal Supreme Court (STF) the extension of the Allegation of Noncompliance with a Fundamental Precept (ADPF 828), which prohibits evictions only until June 30 this year. The actions seek to prevent more than 142,000 threatened families from being evicted in Brazil, which accounts for more than half a million people who are threatened with losing their homes and the territories where they live.
The MST joined other organizations in several actions of protests and public rallies, denunciations, disruptions, highway blockades, in more than 20 cities in Brazil, in addition to actions in Zambia, Cuba, USA and demonstrations in the social networks in the country and from other countries, against hunger, violence and for the lives of thousands of families who live in precarious situations, in rural and urban encampments in the five regions of the country.
Gerson Oliveira, from the State Directorate of the MST in São Paulo, explains that the situation of families threatened with eviction in the country is extremely serious, which is why rural and urban movements took to the streets, carrying out demonstrations that seek to sensitize the STF to extend the ADPF 828 and not put more than half a million people on the streets. Because, according to him, if these evictions are carried out in the city of São Paulo alone, the number of the homeless population can increase by four times.
“It is very important for society to position itself so that Minister Barroso, of the STF, extends this ADPF once again, until the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic ends and until we overcome this economic crisis that has spread hunger, putting Brazil back on the hunger map. In the last two years, those who go hungry more than doubled in the country. The deficit for housing and land reform is very large and these families are struggling precisely to survive, support themselves and have a place to live and work,” Gerson analyzes.
Among the mobilizations carried out by the set of popular movements and organizations of the Zero Eviction Campaign, Benedito Roberto Barbosa, better known as Dito, lawyer for the Union of Housing Movements, CMP Coordination and Zero Eviction Campaign, reports that mobilizations took place in several states across the country, bringing together about 50 thousand people, in the streets that participated in the actions.
He explained that, based on the various mobilizations across the country that asked for the extension of the ban on evictions and removals during the pandemic, representatives of the Campaign are confident about the decision of the STF to extend the injunction. “It was important for people to take to the streets and now we are waiting for a position from the STF in relation to ADPF 828, to suspend evictions in this pandemic period. We are confident with the mobilization. In São Paulo alone, we gathered around 10,000 people for the demonstration”, says Dito.
The demonstrations held in the streets across the country against evictions and removals were accompanied by mobilization on the social networks, which, using the hashtag #EspejoNoBrasilNão, stirred up the struggles with tweets, publicizing the actions and a set of actions on the agenda that demanded the extension of the ban on evictions in town and country.
On June 15th, the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL) and the Workers’ Party (PT), together with the popular movements and organizations that are part of the Zero Eviction Campaign, filed yet another request for an extension of ADPF nº 828 in the STF. requesting the validity of the measure until the merits of the ADPF are judged, or for another year, or until the social and economic effects of the pandemic cease. The rural and urban movements and organizations participating in the Campaign claim that the request is another tool of popular struggle, built with the goal of protecting the thousands of people who are in areas threatened with eviction or removal in Brazil.
“The main request is for the extension of the effects of the injunction for another year or at least until the effects of the pandemic cease. We are experiencing a time of worsening cases again, with high rates of contamination, and our understanding is that promoting eviction in this period only exacerbates the health and social crisis that the country is going through”, explains Diego Vedovatto, lawyer for the Zero Eviction Campaign.
In addition, the lawyer explains that the entities and organizations of the campaign also claim with the STF, that during this period all measures of reintegration of possession or of any nature in relation to forced removals of people in rural or urban areas be suspended. That “all processes, procedures or any other means aimed at issuing judicial, administrative or extrajudicial measures of removal and/or eviction, repossession or eviction of vulnerable families continue to be and/or are suspended, while the World Organization for Health (WHO) does not declare the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and while the effects on the Brazilian population of this health crisis persist”.
Vedovatto reports that the Campaign’s expectation is positive and believes that by the deadline for the injunction, on June 30 of this year, the Minister-Rapporteur of the STF, Luís Roberto Barroso, will issue a decision, endorsed by the plenary, which will probably accept the extension of ADPF 828 and reaffirm, “as it has reaffirmed since the beginning of this ADPF, the right to decent housing for workers who live in extreme social vulnerability”, he argues.
Information about the Despejo Zero Campaign
Updated data from the Zero Eviction Campaign point to more than 97,000 children living under threat of eviction in their communities, and at least 95,113 elderly people and more than 341,000 women in the same situation.
These data become even more alarming in view of the increase in hunger in Brazil, which already affects more than 33 million people in 2022, who do not have enough to eat and to feed their families, as pointed out by the research of the 2nd National Survey on Food Insecurity in Brazil. Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Brazil, developed by the Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security (Rede Penssan). Other aggravating factors faced by families, threats of eviction are on the rise in cases of Covid and the low winter temperatures, which together increase the danger of contracting diseases or even causing deaths due to the increase in the circulation of the virus and the cold, for families who may lose their housing.
In addition to the request for an extension with the update of the numbers of families threatened with eviction filed with the STF, on June 15th, the Campaign also delivered two opinions: one from the Federal Attorney for Citizens’ Rights, from the Agrário GT, which deals with issues related to land conflicts; and another by the retired attorney of the Republic, Deborah Duprat, presented and approved by the National Human Rights Council, which demands the extension of the effective date of ADPF 828 and the establishment of some conditions as minimum requirements to guarantee the right to decent housing for these families.
According to the balance sheet of the Zero Eviction Campaign, ADPF 828 was fundamental to prevent evictions on a national scale, being one of the tools that helped protect almost 23 thousand families since the beginning of the mapping and suspend 106 cases of eviction since the beginning of the campaign.
However, even so, more than 31,000 families, or 125,000 people, were removed during the pandemic in Brazil, between forced evictions with judicial, administrative, or illegal orders by private agents, indicates the mapping of the Campaign. At the same time, when comparing the period of March/2020, the beginning of the pandemic, and March of this year, there was a 655% increase in the number of families threatened with losing their homes.
If the ADPF is not extended by the STF, these thousands of families must suffer from the injustice of evictions from housing and territories where they live, at a time of a new increase in Covid-19 cases. The MST alone adds up to more than 200 threatened areas, with an average of 40,000 Landless children who may be left without school and home.
The Zero Eviction Campaign is a national coalition that brings together more than 175 organizations and entities, social and collective movements that fight against evictions and forced removals of families from their place of residence and living in the territories.
Check out the activities throughout the country this Tuesday (6/21):
In São Paulo, the MST joined several popular organizations on the day of struggle to ask for the extension of ADPF 828, which protects vulnerable families against repossession in rural and urban areas. In the capital of São Paulo, the march took place at 1 pm, on Avenida Paulista.
In the capital of Rio de Janeiro, the MST participated in a demonstration from 2 pm, in front of the Court of Justice of Rio de Janeiro (TJ-RJ), on Avenida Presidente Antônio Carlos.
In Minas Gerais, movements fighting for housing denounced the impacts of evictions and removals of thousands of Homeless and Landless families, in front of the Minas Gerais Court of Justice.
In Limoeiro do Norte, Ceará, the day began with a symbolic action, performed by the families of the Zé Maria do Tomé Camp, in the Federal Justice Building.
The state leader of the MST in Ceará, Aline Kosta, commented that the action in Limoeiro do Norte sought to open a channel of dialogue with the justice of the municipality to prevent the eviction of families living in the Zé Maria do Tomé camp, in addition to national actions. for the extension of ADPF 828.
“We are here today to try to raise awareness with the Federal Justice of Limoeiro for not carrying out the eviction, which is depending on the extension of the ADPF that expires on the 30th and asking the parliamentarians, to intercede, because families cannot be evicted. There are thousands of children, the elderly, who will not have anywhere to live or go to school, they will have nowhere to go”, he appeals.
In the capital of Ceará, Fortaleza, representatives of the Human Rights Commission of the OAB-Ceará, the State Directorate of the PSOL and Landless activists, carried out the act for the extension of the ADPF in front of the Clóvis Beviláqua Forum.
In Pernambuco, the MST closed Highway PE-63, between the municipalities of Amaraji and Primavera, in defense of territories and for life. In the capital of Pernambuco, Recife, protesters from popular movements and families threatened with eviction were protesting against the expropriations and forced removals.
In Alagoas, the MST activists mobilized in symbolic actions of struggle, demanding an end to evictions in Brazil.
In João Pessoa, Paraíba, for the right to housing, social movements from the countryside and the city and homeless families in the state protested in Praça dos Três Poderes, and demanded support from Governor João Azevedo, in the extension of ADPF 828, which protects families threatened with forced removals during the pandemic. The governor of Paraíba issued a decree regarding the law that regulates evictions in the state but has not yet approved or published the decision in the Official Gazette.
The MST filed a request for an audience with the governor at Palácio da Redenção, to discuss compliance and legal purposes of the decree. In addition, the MST also participated in the actions in Praça dos Três Poderes, the Movement for Struggle in the Neighborhoods (MLB), Movement of Workers for Rights (MTD), National Movement for the Struggle for Housing (MNLM), Hands in Hand and World March of Women (WMM). During the acts, the MST also shared fruit produced by the families of the Popular Arcanjo Belarmino settlement, in the municipality of Pedras de Fogo.
In the morning, the Landless from the Dalcídio Jurandir encampment blocked the BR-155 highway in the municipality of Eldorado do Carajás, in Pará. Two hundred and ten families encamped for more than ten years on the site also demand the extension of ADPF 828 from the STF.
In Boa Vista, Roraima, the MST participated in an action held at the headquarters of the MTST’s Solidarity Kitchen.
In Goiânia, Goiás, the MST participated with other rural and urban workers in the political action in the Legislative Assembly, with the main agenda of the day of struggles, the extension of ADPF 828.
In the state of Mato Grosso, the MST participated in an action for justice for Brazilian indigenist Bruno Pereira and English journalist Dom Phillips, murdered in the state of Amazonas and for zero eviction and agrarian reform, this Tuesday (6/21), in Alencastro square, in the center of Cuiabá.
In Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, the MST, the National Movement for the Fight for Housing (MNLM), the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), Popular Uprising of Youth, the Gaucho Federation of Unions of Residents’ Associations and Community Entities (Fegamec) and the National Confederation of Residents’ Associations (Conam) all participated in the mobilization in the capital. Representatives of the movements stated that the Casa Civil has committed to forwarding a request on behalf of the state governor to the STF to suspend all evictions in the state.
In Zambia, the Zero Eviction Campaign started early, with the setting up of a support point at the Samora Machel Office of the Socialist Party to collect signatures in solidarity with families fighting for land in Brazil. Posters and leaflets were also distributed by the MST Brigade in Africa to publicize the Campaign and mobilize more supporters.
For DESPEJO NO BRASIL NÃO!, MST partners in Cuba also participated in a day of mobiliazation against the evictions and removals in Brazil.
In addition to these actions, some Committees of Friends of the MST in other countries, such as the USA, also mobilized in the networks for a Brazil without eviction.
The MST also participated in other actions in more than 20 Brazilian cities together with the MTST, the Movimento Luta Popular, the Brigadas Populares, the União de Movimentos de Moradia (UMM) and the Movimento de Lutas em Bairros, Vilas e Favelas (MLB)). These movements, like the MST, are also part of the Zero Eviction Campaign.
*With information from MST communicators in the states.
**Edited by Maria Silva