São Paulo (Brazil): Presidency office building occupied during homeless movement protest against government.

Last Wednesday, hundreds of people occupied part of the Presidency’s regional office, in the centre of São Paulo, during a protest organized by the MTST (“Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Tetos” – Homeless Workers Movement) against the current government. The action has taken place on Avenida Paulista, the biggest street in the centre of the city, with hundreds of protesters. It was organized against austerity policies and the interruption of the national program of public housing construction. It was also opposing the eviction by the police last Sunday of dozens of homeless activists who were camping in front of the current (Michel Temer) President’s residence as a way of demonstrating against his government.

The protesters – including the group which occupied Presidency Office’s building – resisted attacks by the Military Police using tear gas and truncheons. A police box was overturned during the clash. Six protesters were finally arrested for “disobedience”. The building’s occupation kept going through the night. The government finally stepped back from its decision to interrupt the public housing construction program. After that, the protesters decided to leave the squatted building, saying that the struggle would go on.

The current government, headed by the liberal Michel Temer, has taken the power three weeks ago after a kind of institutional and media “coup” which removed the previous president Dilma Roussef, from the Worker’s Party (PT). Temer’s government, which has already announced strict austerity measures – reduction in the public health, education and public housing budget, dissolution (finally cancelled) of Ministry of Culture etc. – is facing a strong opposition from social movements and a large part of the population which refuses to recognize what they consider an illegitimate government. In opposition to the government and austerity policies, universities, dozens of public buildings and hundreds of schools are currently occupied throughout the whole country.



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Sources: G1, Agência Brasil.