SÃO PAULO — Violent clashes involving members of the FLM social housing movement spread across central São Paulo on Tuesday, after around 200 homeless families were evicted from an abandoned hotel in which they were squatting.
It was the third time police had attempted to carry out the formal eviction of the FLM families from the Hotel Aquarius, following a court order demanding the building be taken back.
Violent clashes broke out early on Tuesday, and a number of people were arrested and injured, when police responded harshly to aggressions from the evictees, who hurled objects from the building, as well as rocks and paint at officers.
An articulated bus was also torched earlier on Tuesday outside the Municipal Theatre, and a rash of vandalism and looting spread around the area between República and the City Hall – including a Claro mobile phone store and a branch of McDonald’s.
Calm returned to the city centre, but violence erupted again in the afternoon, with running battles around the area which saw protesters throwing objects at police and setting piles of refuse ablaze in the middle of the streets.
Police again responded with a barrage of rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.
In the morning’s violence some 80 people were detained and taking to a local police station, and eight eventually arrested.
Some members of the evicted families remained in the area, and said although they knew the eviction was coming, but that a deal had been struck to ensure families were moved out peacefully.