South America's largest squatted highrise building is under threat.


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.

Last January 27th, the family's representatives met with the police authorities in charge of the forthcoming eviction. During the meeting, it was made clear that the action will take place somewhere between the 15th and 21st of February -- an exact date was not given for 'strategic' reasons – and that the troops will be 'prepared for the worst'. Yesterday, february 7th, the residents of Prestes Maia’s building block the street in front of the occupation. They stayed there for almost 2 hours. This act was an attempt to bring more attention to the situation of the residents and to the possible eviction, scheduled to take place next week.

Sign the petition against the eviction!

Social cleaning operations will expropriate real property in São Paulo’s downtown [pt] | São Paulo´s Mayor promotes social hygiene operation in downtown [en] | Prestes Maia Av 911: the last big occupation in Sao Paulo’s downtown will be evicted [pt]

Protest at the city hall against the eviction: 1 | 2
Blockade in the Prestes Maia’s avenue: 1 | 2 | 3

Áudio of the blockade: 1 | 2 | 3

For more information check out Indymedia Brasil.

The families were advised to leave the precinct before the eviction to avoid unpleasant encounters, and when they asked where they were supposed to go, the answer was: 'to the streets or elsewhere'.

This is the way the city government has acted during countless evictions since Mr. José Serra took office as major of the largest Brazilian city, in the beginning of 2005. His project to 'gentrify' the city centre, largely paid for by international funds, based on expelling the low-earning families and street dwellers, counts on the systematic employment of the municipal (Guarda Civil Metropolitana) and state (Polícia Militar) police forces.

This clearly shows the municipal and state authorities' attitude towards the 'poor' and their movements: first criminalise them and then fight and persecute them, without mercy, expelling them to the sub-urban 'favelas' or at the most to 'social housing projects', mostly even further out.

The 'Prestes Maia' squat -- with its library, its workshops, its educational, social and cultural activities -- in the last years turned into a major laboratory of experiments in organizing a real human renewal of downtown São Paulo. People of all ages and upbringings, of all Brazilian states and other nationalities, artists, students, work together to create a new understanding of how the city should and can work. Putting all these people back onto the streets, 'pulverizing' them, is a maior crime! Support 'Prest

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Osaka Japan eviction too

Sally Darity 10.Feb.2006 00:24

*Declaration of Protest Against the Evictions
*Declaration of Protest Against the Evictions of Park Squatters in
Utsubo and Osaka-jo Park*

On January 30th, 2006, mobilizing nearly 700 city employees, guardsmen
and police against around 20 squatters in Utsubo Park and Osaka-jo Park,
Osaka city forced through its eviction through so-called ‘administrative

In the process of eviction, one person was illegitimately arrested on
suspicion of ‘assault’, three were taken away in ambulances (of which
one was a guardsmen with a broken bone that should take a month to
heal), with many suffering contusions and other wounds. Until the last,
our comrades who tried to defend their own tents and huts were pulled
out as the city refused all discussion, and surrounded just steps away
as their homes were shredded and smashed, forced to witness the eviction
of all their belongings.

With rage in our hearts, we denounce this city’s inhuman violence.

No excuse can permit the abduction of our squatter comrades from their
homes, in the brutal cold, and their dispossession onto the streets. In
a city where 200 people die yearly on the streets, when will Osaka city
be satisfied in its expulsion of our comrades?

For the squatters of Utsubo and Osaka-jo, Osaka city had disregarded all
attempts to negotiate and ignored every word, jumping into the eviction
process. The ‘alternative policies’ trotted out amidst the evictions
were the Osaka-jo park shelter and the ‘Aid for Independence’ center,
both of which kick their tenants out after a period of a few months, and
are institutions designed to force people into a precarious, homeless
life. As soon as one checks in and takes down one’s tent, a person is
forced to sign a document swearing that ‘I will not squat again’.

While an occupant, there is no guarantee of finding work. With the
handicaps of old age and an institutional address, the individual passes
through the employment offices and for those who cannot find work they
are labeled as having insufficient drive to ‘help themselves’ and are
once again thrown into the streets. One meal a day, and a 3 meter square
space to move around in, etc. along with a poor living environment, it
is clear that these institutions are only ‘excuses for eviction’.

Knowing this intimately, the great majority of squatters reject the
‘persuasion consultations’ of the city’s administrators for internment,
and along with protesting against this eviction, have demanded to the
city a radical shift in unemployment and welfare policy, one executed
without prejudice. The appeal: ‘Don’t destroy our tents’ will certainly
be broadcast in the media as a sort of ‘selfishness’ which it definitely
is not, on the contrary these are calls for the most basic essentials of

Disregarding even the January 27th court decision which ruled that a
park occupant could legally register his address as his own, Osaka city
pressed on with the eviction, against which an appeal lawsuit was
launched the same day. Without a radical shift in policy, the evictions
will continue, and if the justification for living in a tent is not
recognized, what could possibly result but more deaths on the roadside?

To begin with, who the hell are these ‘World Roses Fair’ and ‘City
Greening Fair’ (in which a massive amount of money has been sunk) even
for? After the preparations for eviction begun on January 11th, and the
truth had come out about a corruption scandal involving the
Yutoritomidori tourism promotion office, four members of the section
chief’s staff were arrested. This office, drenched in dirty politics,
has no justification for trampling on the lives of squatters.

The city’s actions were in the end, not about the 20 people who fought
to the end to protect their tents. Originally there were 40 in Utsubo
park and nearly 700 at Osaka-jo; for these comrades the process of
escalation in the three years since the building of the shelter is in
part the reality of facing death on the streets. It is with their pain
in our hearts that, at this struggle, had Osaka city been permitted to
carry out its agenda, the 10,000 precarious comrades across the city
would have been pushed farther and farther into the eviction crisis; and
therefore, for the 30,000 comrades across the country, the twenty of
Utsubo park as well as comrades converged from across the country fought
until the end.

It was not just our comrades at the site of the struggle. Against the
violence of Osaka city, as protests gathered across the countries and
around the world, voices of encouragement reached us. With the city’s
eviction as an opportunity to come together, if anything our links came
out stronger.

Disregarding the overwhelming accumulation of personnel and equipment
from the city, more than 100 people gathered in the early morning (and
some the night earlier) to contest the 8 a.m. attack, and after six
hours of standing against the city and overturning entirely the city’s
plans of attack, the savagery of the city was unleashed for all to see.
This thirty day fight was possible because of our comrade’s care, the
assistance of many people and our solidarity. We could not stop the
evictions, but we certainly did not lose! (Translator’s note: the
massive money, equipment and personnel expenditure required for Osaka’s
January 30th attack against autonomous tent villages across the city was
so colossal that even the conservative Sankei Shinbun the next day was
calling the city out, not for its violence and instrumental violence of
course, but for the cost of the policies!)

Osaka city has not learned a thing from this incident. Side by side with
its eviction of Utsubo park it attacked simultaneously four tents set up
at Ogimachi park for comrades made homeless from Utsubo, retributively
smashed a tent of a comrade participating in the actions against the
eviction in Nishi Umeda Park and established a perimeter fence in
Nishinari Kouen, from where many comrades had come to help those at Utsubo.

Comrades who arrived at Utsubo Park’s north administration office on the
31st to protest the eviction and demand their valuables were not allowed
in, turned away and then met with violence. The same day, the southern
administrative office of Nagai Kouen (in Osaka’s south) surrounded about
30 tent dwellers with eight cars and tried to destroy tents set up to
receive the dispossessed from Utsubo park.

On the first of February, the tourism promotion office continued their
prejudicial and targeting of squatters by issuing a document explaining
the evictions, claiming that ‘the tents and huts are not only harming
the scenery, but having a bad influence on the greenery and flowers;
drunk and disorderly squatters bring a bad and unsafe atmosphere to
surrounding citizens’.

Again, without touching on any of the violence executed by the employees
of the state or the guardsmen, the administration erected a fence late
at night the previous day, and in the midst of a protest against the men
trying to carry out the construction, one person was injured. The
administration takes this up and says ‘there is no way that violence can
be permitted’ etc. and cries as if it is the victim.

Osaka city, please, isn’t it your murderous policies that are the most
violent of all?

It makes us want to scream ‘Enough!’.

We will not allow this to continue unabated.

We demand that Osaka city halts its evictions and murders.

As long as this situation continues, and in order to protect the lives
and living standards of our comrades we communicate here that we will
carry on resisting.

Unemployment and squatting steering committee


 kamapat@infoseek.jp(Kamagasaki no Kai e-mail address)

Osaka-shi Nishinari-ku Taishi2−1−2
Care of: Kamagasaki Iryou Renraku Kaigi

Weblog | 2006-02-07 21:25:17 | comment ( 0) | Trackback ( 0 )

*protest against osaKKKa city now!
Comrades and affinities;

saluton from osaka. by the way, if you will be able to do something, we

strongly request you to do something against osaka city authorities,

polizei, and its concerns as soon as you can:

-protest against the executive committee of world rose conventions 2006

now!  office@worldrose-osaka2006.jp
because this rose convention already harassed/evicted our comrades

being in poverty on japanese islands. no need to hobbies of monarchists

and noble persons! we strongly demand dignified lives for each.

-protest against the branches of osaka city now!
Mr. fascist Junichi Seki
fascist Mayor of Osaka City
1-3-20, Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka-si, Japan
Tel: 1-(312)832-6002
Fax: +81-6-6202-6950
Fax: 1-(312)832-6066
direct action to the branches will really support us. also protest msgs

to the city authorities will be really helpful for us. osaka city has

following branches on the world: Chicago, Paris, Dusseldorf, Shanghai,

Singapore.(addresses of them are below!)

-protest against the companies concerns of osaka: Sumitomo, Panasonic,

Sharp, Sanyo, cats eye...etc.
Sumitomo group is a very political company. in osaka, Sumitomo has big

political influences on various fields of business. Panasonic(national)

is same. they have repressed the workers' rights in asia areas/japnese

islands, and have made a lot of money for a long time. so, any

boycotts/strikes to them are welcome to us.

-make the voices/protests to the fascist city authorities of osaka from

"sister cities"!
osaka city has some sister cities: ≫ Sister Cities

San Francisco (United States)
Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Chicago (United States)
Shanghai (China)
Melbourne (Australia)
St. Petersburg (Russia)
Milan (Italy)
Hamburg (Germany)
≫ Business Partner Cities (BPC)

Hong Kong (China)
Bangkok (Thailand)
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
Manila (The Philippines)
Jakarta (Indonesia)
Seoul (South Korea)
Shanghai (China)
Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
Bombay (India)
Melbourne (Australia)
what about campaign of "letters of public questions to the fascist

osaka city"?

-also protest against any japnese consulates/embassies!
sending protests/direct actions against nearest japanese

consulates/embassies are welcome.
Embassy of Japan in U$A
2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20008
Tel: 202.238.6700 fax: 202.328.2187


This is very simple and should not take much time. Please send messages

Mr. fascist Junichi Seki
fascist Mayor of Osaka City
1-3-20, Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka-si, Japan
Fax: +81-6-6202-6950

*office of 23th Zenkoku-tochi-ryokuka osaka fest
TEL06-6920-5941 FAX 06-6920-5971

*office of executive committee of World rose convention 2006

FAX:       +81-6-6631-8741
TEL 06-6631−8760

Western Park Office
Fax: +81-6-6441-6797
2-1-4, Utsubohonmachi, Nishi-ku, Osaka-si, Japan

Eastern Park Office
Fax: +81-6-6943-6877
3-11, Osakajyo, Chuou-ku, Osaka-si, Japan

City of Osaka Chicago Office
c/o JETRO Chicago
401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 660
Chicago, Illinois
60611 USA
Tel: 1-(312)832-6002
Fax: 1-(312)832-6066

City of Osaka Dusseldorf Office
c/o JETRO Dusseldorf
Konigsallee 58
40212 Dusseldorf
Tel: 49-(211)1360241
Fax: 49-(211)326411

City of Osaka Singapore Office
5 Shenton Way
#37-01 UIC Building
Singapore 068808
Republic of Singapore
Tel: (65)6220-8588
Fax: (65)6224-9980

Bureau de Representation
de la Ville d'Osaka a Paris
29, rue des Pyramides
75001 Paris
Tel: 33-(1)4015-9366
Fax: 33-(1)4015-9172

City of Osaka Shanghai Office
Room 407, Shanghai International
Trade Center
2200 Yan An Road West
Shanghai, China
Tel: 86-(21)6275-1982
Fax: 86-(21)6275-1983

if you will be able to send the picture/pix of your actions, please

send to:  nagaipark_tentvilla@yahoo.co.jp /  kamapat@infoseek.jp
and also, if you will be able to send/email the protest to the osaka

city authorities, please CC/BCC to:  nagaipark_tentvilla@yahoo.co.jp /

 kamapat@infoseek.jp thanx. in solidarity.
"each rising fist might look a tiny action, BUT! if the poor comrades are united, OUR RISING FISTS will smash every tyrannt and its tyranny. yes, Militant struggles against tyranny & monopolists are Right! Bakunin said,"Passions of destroying are passions of Creating." long live our solidarity! & we must try to build "Mutual aid" communities all over the earth! vi venkos. ni venkos! No pasaran! in solidarity!" --ni_venkos(no scum!)lists.riseup.net--

Solidarity actions around the world

n 14.Feb.2006 13:11

In London a solidarity action is planned at the Brazilian Embassy and Tourist Board.

There are possibilities for actions around the world.

In the USA for example, the tax evading owner of the building has Miami office for his clothing company
Hamuche Jeans Llc
777 Northwest 72nd Avenue Suite 2
Miami, FL (Florida) 33126-3031
Phone: (305) 262-2332

I am sure the Hamuche Jeans must appear in other locations too.

Back up a little--

Ricardo 15.Feb.2006 16:32

The city government does not evict anyone. The state government does. The municipal government in Brazil, does not control the police, the state government does. The state government, not José Serra, is evicting Prestes Maia. (And I'm not being partisan at all, as both governor and mayor are in the same party--let's just get the facts right) Serra hasn't evicted "thousands of people"--by law he has no eviction powers. And he won't be spending money to evict people, since, again, the police does it, and they're controlled by the state government.

What has happened is that, yes, Serra has said he wants to "revitalize" or "gentrify" the city center. I doubt rents have gone up in downtown, as there has been very little re-development so far, so the "thousands of low-income families" which should be evicted have not been evicted--yet.

Yes, the building was abandoned and has R$6 million in back taxes. The owner of the building, however, wants R$14 million to sell it to the city. This is obviously ridiculous, but property rights prevent the city from just "taking it"--it's the law (though a bad one, I think). So, if the city were to start a court action to take the building at estimated cost (Certainly less than R$14 million), it would take ages, and in the meantime the owner still has the option of evicting people. So why not pay the R$14 million? Well, imagining that the back taxes would be taken into consideration, the city would have to dish out R$8 million. If we divide those R$8 million by the 468 families, we get around R$17,000 per family, enough to build low-income housing outside of the city center. The state government currently builds 5-story apartment buildings for about R$7,000 per apartment. (According to the COHAB website of the city government) Are you honestly asking the government to buy Prestes Maia for R$8 million AND spend the money to make it habitable when you can build twice as many apartments anywhere else?

Personally, I think they will end up moving them to a structured government housing project. But that would also mean that they would probably be put on the top of the queue (or line) so they'd get their apartments immediately for obvious political reasons. In the meantime, people in shantytowns (favelas) for years wait for their apartments. Not fair, eh?

Let's step back and think that there is always more shades of gray to consider, and that no one (including me) has all the answers.


Source for COHAB figure:
 http://www2.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/empresas_autarquias/cohab/conjuntos_habitacionais/0001 Quote is R$10 million for 1,565 units.


n 15.Feb.2006 18:16



Yes, we've heard so excellent news from Brazil...

"thanks to you all who are showing solidarity with us here in brasil. I am from indymedia brasil and we, together with many others, are resisting with the families!! I do have a great news about it!! The families got 2 more months, so the eviction wont happen this week." - toya, Indymedia Brazil

Brilliant, but the battle to save Prestes Maia is not over yet. In two months time they will move to evict again if political pressure isn't applied. So please come to the demo tomorrow if you can to celebrate the news, show global solidarity and add to apply pressure to ensure that this postponement becomes permanent!

"We still need to make pressure on the city hall government to re-appropriate the building! the owner owns 5 million reais in taxes and in Brazil's constitution this is the case for disapropriation and to use the building to make house for the people! "

"But our mayor is from the right wing party psdb and his government has a very heavy exclussion policy, where they are taking all the poor ppl out from downtown so they can make it a place like downtown of paris, london, and many other cities in the world that has soffered this type of gentrification process.! "

"We must create pressure on them! even the UN (who i personally dont give that much credit for their actions around the world) came to brasil and put in their report the suggestion for the local government to do that.
Have a great luck on the action tomorrow and please post on IMC Brasil the results. I will look for it and I can translate it to portuguese. "

"always in solidarity "

1pm Thursday 16th, outside Brazilian Embassy , London, UK

Prestes 911 was given the news of that the eviction announced to happen between 15th and 21st of February had been postponed.

About 200 people had congregated at Prestes Maia in the night of yesterday (13/02). The eviction was marked to happen any time after the 15th February. It was an anxious wait for them waiting for the news and information. The assembly came back and began by reading of a letter denouncing the eviction. After the reading, by the movement MSTC, it gave the news of that repossession of ownership had been postponed for indeterminate stated period.

Celebration was great and the families, moved, thanked the support of the groups, individuos, lawyers etc, who had helped during these days. They remembered that the fight continues, that is a positive victory, but that the fight for housing still continues and that it is still necessary to guarantee that the 468 families obtain worthy housing.

(Disclaimer: Very bad translation from Portuguese by Ben with the help of his friend Google)


King Amdo 17.Feb.2006 19:06

..now this is 'community anarchy' and not communism!