By Camila Jordan, editor and writer at Brazil Talk
[ 7 min read ]
Watching a video of a tragic incident in São Paulo, where people’s houses under a bridge were caught in a fire, triggered the following reflection.
What happens when people DO NOT recognize themselves as rights holders?
According to residents living in the occupation, the fire was started by local police officers with the intent to expel them from their impromptu homes, made out of remnants of wood and other rejected materials. However, according to an article in Folha de São Paulo and interviews with Eduardo Odloak, the sub-mayor of the region, one person from the impromptu community lit the area on fire in revolt against the actions performed by the city government.
People who had been living in the place of the incident say they had been dwelling there the last three years. Whether city hall gave warnings about their planned removal is unclear, some people said two social workers came by and urged them to go to a shelter on the Friday before the incident, but the majority didn’t seem to know what was happening.