Members of the Rexistência occupation, of the National Movement for the Fight for Housing (MNLM), will meet this Monday afternoon (18) with the mayor of Porto Alegre, Sebastião Mello (MDB), to discuss the future of the building occupied by the movement this Saturday (16). The announcement was made after action by the Municipal Guard that attacked supporters of the occupation – including deputy Laura Sito (PT). The city hall also announced that the building will be removed from the list of municipal properties for sale.
Before the meeting with the municipal Executive, this Monday, at 4 pm, an event will be held in support of the occupation, with an exit in front of the building, located at Rua dos Andradas, 1,780, in the center of the capital of Rio Grande do Sul. After the demonstration, a committee will walk to City Hall.
:: Porto Alegre municipal guard attacks occupation supporters and hits deputy Laura Sito ::
The occupation of the abandoned building took place in the early hours of Friday (15) to Saturday (16) and was attended by around 40 families. As the movement highlights, the objective is to “transform it into popular housing and a space destined to promote culture, fulfilling its social function.”
The nine-story building originally belonged to Caixa Econômica Federal. The space, in 1997, was transformed into a cultural center. Until 2021 it was managed by Companhia de Arte and, in 2022, it was included in the list of 92 properties owned by the municipality that can be sold, whether by sale, exchange, assignment or partnership.
:: Understand why MCMV Entidades needs to gain space in the government’s new housing program ::
“The place for many years was occupied by popular culture with various cultural initiatives. However, the place was emptied with the promise that it would be renovated and they would return. The promise was not fulfilled and the building is on the municipality’s list of properties that will be auctioned. The occupation denounces the sale of the city’s public properties and handover of the center of the capital to real estate speculation and we demand that the building fulfills its original function for culture and also for popular housing”, explains the movement.
Hours after the occupation, on Saturday, the Porto Alegre Municipal Civil Guard (GCM) violently repressed supporters. Three people were injured and underwent a criminal examination at the Police Palace, including state deputy Laura Sito (PT) and the Levante Popular da Juventude activist, Lucas Monteiro.
According to a note published on the city hall’s website, as determined by the mayor, “an administrative procedure will be initiated to investigate the circumstances of the conflict that occurred between supporters of the occupation and the Municipal Guard.”
“This type of approach deviates from the normality of the corporation’s actions, which are based on dialogue. None of us are interested in conflict, in violence. We will guarantee everyone’s safety until the process is completed”, highlights the commander of the Municipal Guard, Marcelo Nascimento.
The coordinator of MNLM-RS, Ceniriani Vargas da Silva (Ni), states that the group has been experiencing very tense moments since entering the occupation. “We hope that everyone involved is identified and held accountable,” she says.
Trading desk is a win
“We have already obtained the victory of removing the building from the list of municipal properties for sale and its use for culture and housing. We appreciate all the support and solidarity we have received and we count on you to put pressure on the mayor in negotiations”, points out Ceniriani.
According to the coordinator, the movement presented a proposal to purchase the building through the Minha Casa, Minha Vida-Entidades Program.
Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Marcelo Ferreira