On December 23rd, in Campina Grande, state of Paraíba (PB), residents of the Luiz Gomes Occupation carried out a combative protest against the threat of illegal eviction. The act took place in front of the office of Mayor Romero Rodrigues (PSD). The threat from the municipal government was made two days before, and was scheduled to take place on December 29.
The protest, which began in the city center and continued on to the office, was attended by dozens of families, supporters, popular organizations, teachers and democratic students. The residents chanted the slogan “We want housing!” They also held up signs with the slogans “Fighting is not a crime”, “It is Right to Rebel!”, “We want a home and not repression”, “Only struggle changes life”. Several combative speeches were made by the demonstrators repudiating the cruel and illegal threat of eviction of more than 150 families before New Year’s Eve and exposing the struggle that has been fought for more than eight months by the occupiers.
After the demonstrators shut down the street for several hours, a commission of the Occupation was received by the Secretary of SUDEMA, Carlos Dunga Jr. The secretary, who said he did not know about the eviction order, pledged to investigate the situation and a new meeting with the commission was scheduled for next Saturday the 26th.
Still during the action, which continued for another hour, the demonstrators expressed their indignation and denounced not only the threat of arbitrary eviction from the city, but also the whole situation of neglect and abandonment to which the old state subjects the people to.
THE REPOSSESSION PROCESS
On August 1st, the Campina Grande City Hall filed a repossession claim against the 150 families living in the Luiz Gomes Occupation. On August 7th, Judge Alex Muniz Barreto issued the 1st degree decision by injunction, ordering the repossession with the use of police force. After the judicial decision, the occupation had to be summoned to be aware of the judicial decision and to be able to present its counter-arguments through the popular lawyers that accompany the process.
However, in a deceptive and arbitrary manner, the city government waited for the beginning of the judicial recess (which began on December 20) to attach to the process a document indicating that the families would be evicted on December 29, the eve of the new year and without the occupation having been subpoenaed. This action took place on December 21, 8 days before the eviction date.
On December 23rd, the occupation received the subpoena by a bailiff accompanied by 4 Military Police vehicles. The police troops were received by the leaders of the occupation, popular lawyers and activists from the Sanitary Committee for Popular Defense of Campina Grande. The latter were all aware of the process and denounced the illegality and arbitrariness of the city hall’s attempt to evict the families from their homes on New Year’s Eve and bypass due process.
On this same occasion, the various residents who were present expressed their indignation with the maneuver arranged by the city government and have already organized resistance while the people’s lawyers have stepped in with the appropriate judicial measures.
INJUNCTION SUSPENDS REPOSSESSION
After the joint efforts of the Sanitary Committee for Popular Defense of Campina Grande and the State Council for Human Rights, the Public Defender’s Office of Paraíba, through its Human Rights Center in the city, filed a motion for annulment of the decision to evict the Luiz Gomes occupation, in Jardim Paulistano.
The appeal was delivered on the judicial agenda of 12/23 and Judge Silvio Ramalho granted an injunction suspending the eviction, which had been determined by the 2nd Public Treasury Court of Campina Grande.
The suspension of Luiz Gomes’ eviction is a victory of the organized popular struggle, which does not slow down! The residents say they will remain organized to conquer the right to decent housing.