Judge suspends eviction of squatters on VW land in Sao Paulo

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Jul 29 22:19:19 MDT 2003


[ In Brazil, about 90 percent its land is owned by
just 20 percent of the country's 170 million people.
The poorest 40 percent of the population hold just
1 percent. ]

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BRAZIL_LAND_INVASIONS?SITE=
OHCIN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Jul 28, 11:03 PM EDT

Judge Suspends Eviction of VW Squatters

By ALAN CLENDENNING
Associated Press Writer

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- Thousands of squatters
occupying land owned by Volkswagen won a reprieve
Monday night when a judge suspended their eviction
order.

A judge suspended the eviction order for the 4,000
people who have set up a shantytown and want title
to the land, said Wagner Lino, a lawyer representing
the Workers Without a Roof Movement. Only hours
earlier, police had threatened to evict the squatters.

The squatters took over the land 10 days ago, and
negotiations have so far failed to produce a solution
to the standoff, leading to the eviction order.

Another lawyer for the squatters, Eliana Lucia
Ferreira, said the group wants to buy the 50-acre lot
and that Volkswagen is willing to discuss a sale, but
demanded the squatters leave first.

Shortly before the eviction order was suspended, the
Brazilian presidential cabinet member in charge of
urban affairs told reporters that the President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva's a dministration wants a
nonviolent solution to the standoff.

Silva won the presidency last fall in part with promises
to raise living standards for millions of Brazilians who
live in grinding poverty.

Volkswagen declined comment, but a member of
Brazil's largest lawyers' association said he feared an
eviction order could lead to injuries or deaths.

"My biggest fear right now is that police intervention
could have a disastrous effect," said Ariel de Castro
Alves, a human rights lawyer who and attended the
negotiations. "There are lots of children at the site, and
we need to find a peaceful solution."

Volkwagen had no immediate comment.

Squatters with the Workers Without a Roof Movement
also invaded four large vacant buildings in Sao Paulo
several days after the group took over the vacant land on
the outskirts of South America's largest city.

Hundreds camped out in one of the buildings, a shuttered
hotel, but left last week after police threatened to evict
them. But thousands more are still in another vacant hotel
and in two apartment buildings that have been unoccupied
for years.

In Brazil, about 90 percent its land is owned by just 20
percent the country's 170 million people. The poorest
40 percent of the population hold just 1 percent.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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