RIO DE JANEIRO: At least seven people were injured on Friday as authorities ousted squatters from an abandoned building and shacks surrounding it just steps from Rio’s iconic Maracana stadium.
With the start of the World Cup two months away, Brazil has stepped up security efforts in the metropolis, where tens of thousands of football fans will fly in for the tournament and which will stage seven matches – including the July 13 final at Maracana.
At dawn, more than 1,600 heavily armoured police arrived at the building – which had been occupied by squatters in recent weeks – brandishing an eviction order requested by the Oi phone company, which owns the property.
Meanwhile, cranes and tractors demolished wooden huts built around the building – many still full of the belongings residents had had no time to pack.
Hundreds of desperate and angry residents and neighbours poured into the street protesting the loss of their new homes.