“They came here breaking everything, removing the people from there, thank God I had with my son with me, nothing happened to us, but I don’t know about the others,” explained Sandra Sousa, one of the 5,000 people squatting on the property owned by Oi telecom in Brazil which was stormed by police charged with evicting the site.
Around 1,000 police arrived at dawn to remove those living at the site not far from Rio’s iconic Maracana stadium. Though many left peacefully others threw petrol bombs whilst police responded with teargas as cranes tore down the houses with many of the family’s belongings still inside.
Five police officers, four squatters and three children were amongst the injured and twenty were arrested.
Sandra Sousa explained that he had made his home there as his previous house in Baixada Fluminense had been flooded, and it was a choice of squatting or taking his family to live in other people’s homes.
With the World Cup just two months away, it is the latest in a series of clashes that have erupted after police were charged with clearing up Brazil’s slums ahead of the sporting event.