Monday, October 15, 2007

The 10 squatters who were dragged off by the police at the end of last week spent the last three days (bank holiday Friday and the weekend) in prison.

Squatting per se isn't illegal in Brazil; there are even laws giving some rights to claim disused land. There are plenty of condominiums around Brasilia which are put up by property speculators grabbing large chunks of it, and who's legal status is negotiated over the subsequent 20 years or so. But the law is never evenly applied.

So after first floating claims of drug-dealing and prostitution, but being unable to back it up with any evidence. The police have finally gone with a charge of "conspiracy to form a gang to promote invasions of property" based on finding literature and how-to manuals from other squatting movements. Apparently, although it's not illegal to squat, it is illegal to organize to promote the idea or to educate people how to do it effectively.

The accused were refused "habeus corpus" on Thurday, and put in prison to await trial. The lawyer of the local IndyMedia group is working to try to get them out until the trial itself.

There's now a short video about the squat and the arrests on the CMI site.

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