Belo Horizonte (Brazil): The feminist squat Tina Martins threatened with eviction


On March 8th, the feminist movement Olga Benário squatted an empty building in the center of Belo Horizonte, with the hope of turning it into a crisis shelter for female victims of violence. Since then, the building is occupied as a place of living for dozens of women, and holds every day gatherings, assemblies, culturals and political events. It also works as a self-managed crisis shelter: a psychological and medical reception center for more or less 200 women who are homeless or victims of violence.

The squat was named Tina Martins as a tribute to anarchist activist Espertirina (Tina) Martins. During the big 1917 strike – which happened in many big cities in Brazil – Tina, who was 15 years at the time, threw a homemade bomb hidden in a bouquet of flowers against the army troops about to repress the strikers in Porto Alegre city. The bomb thrown by Tina killed a few soldiers and made the others run away. The results of the strikes has been the victory of the eight-hour day, the prohibition of child labour, maternity leave and others rights.

Last week, the squat received an order of eviction from Federal Police. Since then, a call for solidarity was made and a big mobilization began against eviction. This order of eviction arrives in a context of increasing persecution against social movements and rise of far-right speeches, while the conservative groups are putting in place a kind of institutional and media “Coup” to take back the power from the Worker Party (PT), which owns the political power for the last 15 years. (In reality, unless it is called “communist” by his enemies, the PT government has also produced liberals and law-enforcement politics).