Brazil: Amid the Carnival, the military police raided the students’ autonomous space in the University of São Paulo (USP)

In the morning of Monday, February 6th, a warning regarding police presence close to the main gate of the university campus mobilized the students’ movement and other supporters. It was the deadline for the repossession of the students’ autonomous space, known as Moradia Retomada (‘Retaken House’), located on the ground floor of the G block of the residential premises of the USP (CRUSP).

After series of human rights’ violations during the repossession of the occupied rectorate, late last year, the persecution of the USP workers’ union, mass layoffs and attacks on the ‘Black Awareness Cell’, the rector keeps managing the university as if it were a business. This time, he decided to ‘sweep’ the university campus a few days before the first-year students’ registration, which took place from 8th to 9th of February.

In the early hours of February 19th, during the Carnival holiday, the military police of São Paulo seized the opportunity to attack the students’ autonomous space of the USP. The cops used rubber bullets, and no student from the next buildings could get close to at least film the repressive operation. Twelve students were arrested. They are held in the 14st military police department, located at 369, Deputado Lacerda Franco Street, accused for civil disobedience and damage to public property. All 12 haven’t yet been released, because they are forced to a monetary bail. A group of students that support the detainees called everyone in São Paulo to gather outside this police station, to support the students’ movement and help decide on the next steps of struggle in the USP.

It must be noted that, often in Brazil, young people get kicked out by police from dorms in university residential buildings. In São Paulo, the students claim residence through a housing policy, as well as the end of surveillance of political and personal activities of people living in the CRUSP.

The self-managed space Moradia Retomada has existed since March 17th, 2010. The specific building was formerly under the administration of the Coordination of Social Assistance (COSEAS). The students’ autonomous space has been both legitimate and, in almost two years, proven that it provided more assistance to the first-year students than the bureaucratic system destined for this service would ever give. Counting on internal organization, the members of Moradia Retomada were planning and holding activities for the reception of new students. This self-organized space must be preserved as an important base of the ongoing students’ struggle.

Source: CMI Brasil