Sofia Silva, Protest against São Lázaro‘s eviction, May 31st 2012
Times like this highlight how abstract the meaning of “our rights” can be. Despite the facts indicating we’ve grown as a civilization and are able to fully communicate, the state can always impose itself on every argument, and so it does when sending its perpetrators with orders that are as arbitrary as excessive.
On the phone with his boss I heard one of the agents saying: “Captain, I’m here with the squatters at Igreja dos Anjos …” I’ll excuse myself from completing the description (he was asking for instructions on how to proceed) since what I want to emphasize is the nomenclature (squatters/ocupas) already denoting the lack of understanding the police sector has of who “we” are. Squatters, libertarians, anarchists, extreme leftists, lumping it all together in something that offends us and often dissevers.
It’s only a matter of time before we spend a night in jail. Those pursuing their “right to protest” and therefore often encountering the police forces will, sooner or later, incur in disobedience. We’d better find a lawyer and leave him on guard whenever we hit the streets, in chance we hit a roadblock and are forced to go around.
Note: São Lázaro was not an ordinary squat, but a communal space where people met, shared knowledge and gave back to the city. I was never there, nor am I interested in this particular example,but I’ve occupied, lived in squats before and am against the notion of property in public real estate, those being the reasons I fully support the protest for this eviction.