The terrain was public land donated in the 50s by federal government to corporations to "create jobs". It has been an unused land for four years and Volkswagen workers are on strike caused by job cuts in the factory.
Meanwhile up to 7000 persons - including about 2000 children, were in the camp.
Negotiations with the city council and the company's representation have failed, a court decided the eviction. Yet the workers want to show resistance.
Here is a translation of a personal report posted on Imc Brasil about the eviction of the camp.
human chain around the camp shortly before police evicts it
police at the entrance gate
eviction of the camp on the occupied volkswagen land
terrorism against the people in São Bernardo
por MTST - Acampamento Santo Dias 09/08/2003 17:54 , [source]
Willian Dib, VW and military police practise terrorism against the people in São Bernardo do Campo
The truth about the expulsion of the homeless families.
After 18 days of struggle and resistance, us, the homeless families of workers of the camp Santo Dias - MTST, were forced to leave the land.
The reason was a military operation of the police corps (tropa de choque) and the other police forces, who proceeded to the camp in order to carry out an eviction order because of the request of the foreign corporation Volkswagen.
In front of 4500 family members with about 3000 children aged 0- 12 years, the police positioned their repressive apparatus to destroy the dream of many men and women who fight for housing and social justice.
The weapons of the police were: cavallerie, trained dogs for intimidation of the public, teargas grenades, weapons with moral effect... (cassetetes), shields, weapons of all calibers, elitist snipers, who were positioned on the roof of the Volkswagen factory and aimed at the leaders and the other activists of unions, churches and other movements participating in the struggle.
The weapons of the Volkswagen corporation: a court order, signed by one person, which is deciding on the fate of many people and at the same time sitting comfortably in his office, the economical powers of a corporation, which get all benefits and privileges from Brasil by receiving land from the government, passing the payment of various taxes, the intransigence, intolerance and total disregard for the Brasilian people.
The weapons of the prefect Willian Dib: cowardice, arrogance and incompetence, as the prefect did not want to solve the problem of the homeless families of São Bernardo do Campo at any time and whose housing deficites are at about 50 000 flats.
After the eviction, the families climbed into buses and lorries and received the promise of the military police that all would be brought to the city hall in order to get a place by the prefect where they could find shelter. The police, however, stopped the trucks in the Via Anchieta, told the families to get out and and then beat them brutally - children, youth, pregnant women, everyone was fought with rubber bullets.
The buses were taken by the police to places which were far away from the camp.
The families were evicted from there again another time, with all their property, they suffered a further repression. The injured were brought to the municipal hospital, where they were intimitated by the present police.
Why so much hate and so much suppression? Why did the prefect never want to negotiate with us? Why must we still always see scenes like this, in a country with so many abondoned areas and plots of land? Why is the constitution not respected, in which it is said, that every citizen has a right of a dignified housing?
In this moment, we have settled ourselves in the city hall, hoping that the authority will do justice in the responsibility for the families and will look for a solution for this conflict, which is already lasting several days, by negotiating.
In regard of this, we, members of the movement of the homeless workers (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto - MTST), demand justice. We continue the struggle for housings and for an urban reform and ask all citizens of this city and this region that they won't be deceived by the lies manufactured by the local administration and the media.
We ask for the solidarity of the entire society, so that we together can put pressure on the city administration, so that it looks for a satisfactory solution for these families, as our issue is just and therefore we will continue, united, organized and ready to go our way, on the search for HOUSING; WORK AND JUSTICE!
MOVIMENTO DOS TRABALHADORES SEM TETO (MTST), São Bernardo do Campo, August 2003.
Pictures 1, 2 quicktime video 26,5 MB of eviction Imc Brasil
The land occupation movement in Brazil is very strong - again and again thousands (most of them homeless) of people occupy unused land. Repeatedly there is violent repression on the part of the government. With the election of the left populist president Lula, many hoped for improvements, which did not occur. He also represents the interests of the companies and presses for a neoliberal politics.
when the camp was erected:
Pictures of the Camp: Camp on VW area,more pics
The MST (Movimento dos Sem-Terra) is also networking with PGA (People's Global Action)