February 20th, 2006
A group of several dozen people is currently occupying the trees which are on the future site of the E.P.M. (a prison for minors) d’Orvault, near to the city of Nantes (France), in an attempt to stop the construction. We want to show our opposition in a determined manner to the state and economic violence which is destroying our lives: imprisonment, misery, ghettoisation, the politics of “security”, racism, wage labour…
From prisons for minors to zero-tolerance politics
The French government is planning the construction of 7 prisons for minors of 13 to 18 years old between now and end of the year. This would mean 420 new prison places which would be in addition to the 850 that already exist in the youth wings of regular prisons.The other planned youth prisons in France will be located close to Valenciennes, Meaux, Lyon, Mantes-la-Jolie, Toulouse and Marseille.
09 Feb 2006
The “Prestes Maia”, by far the largest squatted highrise building on the South American continent, is under threat of eviction. With its 468 families, accounting for more than 1600 previously homeless people, including children, elderly and disabled, the building will shortly be returned to its ‘lawful’ owner, Mr. Hamuche & Co., who in the last 15 years of ‘ownership’ accumulated a debt in municipal taxes of some 5 million reais (approx. 2.2 million dollars / 2.1 million euros), which is more than the building is worth. This enormous debt, together with long years of abandonment, should well justify (even according to law) a claim for the building to become public property by the local municipality, but nevertheless will be returned to its owner, putting hundreds of people back onto the streets.
The 468 families, united in the Downtown Roofless Movement (Movimento Sem Teto do Centro or MSTC) of São Paulo, have lived in the 22-storey highrise since 2002. The building had simply been closed down for years and left in deplorable condition, serving as shelter for rats and cockroaches, as is the case of many buildings in downtown São Paulo. The new residents cleaned out tonnes of rubbish and litter (200 trucks to be exact!), organized it, expelled drugs and other criminal bosses always there to take advantage, turning it into an exciting and lively human dwelling.
H40 and the rest of the whole city-block had by then stod abandoned for quite a number of years, but lots of needles and garbage witnessed about provisionally inhabitants.
The years has passed Now there are 12-15 inhabitants at Vestbredden. A part of the building was exeptionaly damaged by leakage and thus infested with fungus. By removing the old insulation (wich was dirt) and put on new floor-boards we seem to have kept this problem at bay. Additionaly a pice of the fundament had been washed away, with the consequence that the whole of the south-eastern corner was in an imiminent danger of collapsing. Fact is that if we had not mended these structural injuries, the whole caboodle would have crumbled with in a half a year. We also have plans to put a new cover on the roof with in the next few years. At the same time we will seek to replace a suport beem that was totaly rothen away. For the present we have compensated the damaged component. In July 2003 we got the firedepartement on our backs and has afterwards made an effort to have the building meet the minimum fire-safety standards. As we are in no way easy to remove, Statsbygg therefore treated us with a cheap fire-alarm system. We have worked hard to make this house inhabitable and we do not intend to let us selves be removed peacefully.