Chile: Police Special Forces Evict Mapuche Community From Contested Lands

By • Oct 21, 2013

 

“Welcome to the Temucuicui Autonomous Community” Photo by Donmatas1 on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“Welcome to the Temucuicui Autonomous Community” Photo by Donmatas1 on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In the early morning of Wednesday, October 9, riot police and members of the Group of Special Operations (GOPE in Spanish), an elite, special unit of the Chilean Police, raided the Temucuicui Autonomous Community [es], an indigenous Mapuche community located near the town of Ercilla in the Araucania Region of Southern Chile.A self-denominated “autonomous” community, Temucuicui has occupied what they consider to be ancestral lands for over two years. They have resisted several eviction attempts, and their resistance has landed many community leaders and members in jail.

The land where the community lives is part of what the Mapuche call “Wallmapu”, meaning Mapuche country, where clashes between police forces and Mapuche activists are common. Currently, these lands are contested, but legally owned by landowners Rene Urban, Martin Ruf and the Zeit family. Continue reading

Wave of Evictions Leads to Homeless Crisis in Spain

Francisco Rodríguez Flores in a building where he and his family live that has been taken over by the homeless. It had been vacant for three years.

By , The New York Times, November 11, 2012

SEVILLE, Spain — The first night after Francisco Rodríguez Flores, 71, and his wife, Ana López Corral, 67, were evicted from their small apartment here after falling behind on their mortgage, they slept in the entrance hall of their building. Their daughters, both unemployed and living with them, slept in a neighbor’s van.

“It was the worst thing ever,” Mrs. López said recently, studying her hands. “You can’t image what it felt like to be there in that hall. It’s a story you can’t really tell because it is not the same as living it.”

Things are somewhat better now. The Rodríguezes are among the 36 families who have taken over a luxury apartment block here that had been vacant for three years. There is no electricity. The water was recently cut off, and there is the fear that the authorities will evict them once again. But, Mrs. López says, they are not living on the street — at least not yet.

The number of Spanish families facing eviction continues to mount at a dizzying pace — hundreds a day, housing advocates say. The problem has become so acute that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has promised to announce emergency measures on Monday, though what they may be remains unclear.

While some are able to move in with family members, a growing number, like the Rodríguezes, have no such option. Their relatives are in no better shape than they are, and Spain has virtually no emergency shelter system for families.

For some, the pressure has been too much to bear. In recent weeks, a 53-year-old man in Granada hanged himself just hours before he was to be evicted, and a 53-year-old woman in Bilbao jumped to her death as court officials arrived at her door. Continue reading

India: Ongoing Hunger strike and Resistance of Evicted People at Nonadanga

April 16: Pamphlet issued by Uchhed Pratirodh Committee  –  Nonadanga, Kolkata

The incident

On 30th March, the present TMC-led West Bengal government, its administration and police have demolished our temporary shanties with their bulldozers, set fire to them and tried to evict us from the area. We tried twice to organize peaceful sit-in protests and demonstrations in the nearby Ruby Hospital crossing to publicly highlight our condition and demand our legitimate right to housing. Instead of listening to our concerns, on 4th April, police forcefully broke and dispersed the gathering by rampant lathicharge; some plain-clothes personnel also pounced on the unarmed women.

Though majority of the protesters were women, no women cops were present at the site. Police kicked Rita Patra, a twenty-one year old woman in advanced pregnancy, nor did they spare two-and-half year old Joy Paswan, whose head was hit with lathi. Many of the injured were taken to the Calcutta Medical College, where some of them were admitted. And the second demonstration on 8th April was nipped at its bud when police arrested majority of the protesters and whisked them away to Kolkata police headquarter (Lalbazar). Late in the night, the protesters were released except seven of them, who were produced in the court and charged with various false and ridiculous charges including illegal gathering, illegal possession of weapons etc. All of these seven people are from different democratic organizations and individuals who came in support for us. To make matters worse, a section of the media, especially the ones loyal to the ruling party, are continuously branding the protesters as ‘Maoists’ and cooking up entirely distorted stories, to the point of being preposterous. The arrested seven were remanded to three days of police custody till the 12th; in the next hearing, they were sent to jail custody up to 26th April. One of the seven has been charged under UAPA and sent to CID custody till 21st April. Surprisingly, about forty lawyers, allegedly having allegiance to the ruling party stood against the accused in the courtroom along with the public prosecutor. To add to the instances of virtual clampdown, unprecedented in recent times, police again arrested about seventy protesters on April 9th they were about to start their protest march from the College Street square. Continue reading

Philippines: Lumad communities set up blockades to resist relocation

Minda News, March 26, 2012

NOT ALLOWED. A notice in sitio Nakultana at Bong Mal District in Barangay Kimlawis in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur states that company vehicles of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. are not allowed passage. Photo by Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews

Indigenous Lumad communities in South Cotabato have organized a set of blockades against an Australian-owned mining company that wants to relocate them to make way for a new copper-gold mine project.

A group of journalists were invited by a local Catholic Church this past weekend to sit down with the Lumads and discuss the situation.

Speaking through interpreters, the Lumad explained how Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), an affiliate of Australia’s Xstrata Copper, recently outlined the terms of a proposed relocation project on a bunch of tarpaulins which it posted in the region without telling anyone3.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the terms of the relocation were written in Cebuano, a common language in the Philippines, but which most Lumads can neither read nor write.

As the Lumads later learned, SMI had given them until March 22 to agree to the relocation proposal, which also included compensation for their land and their farms.

“The community was shocked by the relocation notice. I don’t want my family relocated,” said Juli Samling, a Lumad community member.

“Here in our community, everything is almost free. You have a land where you can plant to put food on the table. In the relocation site, you have to pay for everything to sustain the family”, Samling added. Continue reading

“A Place in the City” — Documentary on South Africa’s Shack Dwellers Movement

on Jun 14, 2010

More than a decade after apartheid ended millions of South Africans still live in basic home-made shacks. We hear from the inhabitants as they eloquently argue their case for real citizenship rights.

The shack dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, began in 2005. Their slogan is ‘Talk to us, not about us.’ ‘It’s not that people like to live in shacks. No one will ever want to live in these conditions but they need to be close to their work’ explains S’bu Zikode, Abahlali’s elected leader. However, the group has not been welcomed by the ANC. They’ve been met with aggression rather than with negotiations. Police shot Mariet Kikine with six rubber bullets at a peaceful demonstration. ‘I’m not stopping to fight the government for my rights. Now they’ve made me brave.’ In the build-up to the 2010 soccer World Cup, Durban shack dwellers fear they will be bulldozed out of the city, or arrested. ‘This new legislation makes it a crime to build shacks or resist demolition and eviction.’ But the shack dwellers are determined not to give up.

‘Occupy’ protesters reclaiming foreclosed homes in 20 cities

By David Edwards, rawstory.com, December 6, 2011

Occupy Our Homes protest (Vocal New York)

The 99 percent movement, which has been evicted from many of their encampments across the country, is finding common cause with thousands of homeowners who are also being evicted from their homes.

Even though the movement has often been criticized for a lack of defined goals, Tuesday’s “Occupy Our Homes” action in at least 20 cities makes it clear that they are standing up to banks to reverse foreclosures.

“We’re in the neighborhood in New York City that had the highest number of foreclosure filings in 2010 to send a message that the economy is failing the 99 percent,” Vocal New York organizer Sean Barry told Raw Story from a Brooklyn neighborhood as about 200 protesters chanted in the background.

“We’re here because [there are] a lot of empty buildings owned by Wall Street banks and we’re going to liberate them.”

Tasha Glasgow, the single mother of a 9-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son, was expected to be one of the first occupants of a reclaimed home. Barry said that Glasgow, who had been in and out of the shelter system in New York City, had been slated to get a Section 8 voucher before budget cuts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg put an end to that promise.

“We’ve gained access to the home, and we’ve got the support of the neighbors,” Barry explained. “They’re going to start occupying it. … And then, there’s going to be 24/7 eviction defense by Occupy Wall Street.”

There were over 40 events planned in more than 20 cities Tuesday, but that is just the beginning.

“When it comes to Wall Street’s control over our economy, our democracy and our lives, there’s few better examples than the housing crisis,” Barry noted. “Occupy Wall Street is going to continue to support this national Occupy Our Homes campaign, and both defend homeowners who are being threatened with eviction due to foreclosure, and to move families that need homes into vacant buildings that banks are just sitting on.”

Brazil under fire for World Cup slum evictions

By Stuart Grudgings

RIO DE JANEIRO | Tue May 10, 2011

(Reuters) – Like his house, Jose Santos de Oliveira is an island of resistance.

The middle-aged gardener and his home stand amid the sea of rubble that remains of the slum community of Vila Recreio 2 in the west of Rio de Janeiro.

The mistake of the around 200 families who used to live here? They were in the way of Brazil’s make-over to host the world’s biggest sports events in the coming years — in this case, one of three new bus routes aimed at easing congestion.

The 2014 soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games in Rio two years later are spurring a multi-billion dollar drive to upgrade Brazil’s creaking infrastructure. But as work gets under way it has run up against a barrier — Brazil’s unequal society and chaotic urban planning that has seen hundreds of slums spring up throughout cities like Rio in recent decades.

Rights groups say poor residents appear to be losing out, raising early questions over whether the double-header of sporting “mega-events” will help heal Brazil’s deep social divisions or worsen them. Continue reading