Dilma Rousseff, Parliamentarians and Social Movements Repudiated the Imprisonment of MTST Coordinator

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Guilherme Boulos. Photo Credit: Brasil de Fato
Guilherme Boulos. Photo Credit: Brasil de Fato

Source: Brasil de Fato / The Dawn News / January 17, 2017

After the Guilherme Boulos, Coordinator of the Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST) was detained during a raid to lands occupied by the movement Tuesday morning, several politicians repudiated the repression by the Brazilian military police.

To the President who was overthrown by an institutional coup, Dilma Rousseff, the fact that Boulos was imprisoned during the repossession of the lands occupied by the MTST in São Mateus (east São Paulo), “signals a deep setback” and “shows that the government has chosen a path that hurts our democracy and criminalizes the defense of the social rights of our people”. She added the imprisonment of Boulos was “unacceptable”. The activist, who was acting as a mediator between the police and the MTST at the time of his arrest, was released this Wednesday.

Federal deputy María do Rosario, of the Workers’ Party (PT) also supported Boulos and criticized the eviction of the MTST families that were occupying the lands due to the lack of access to housing. “The right to a home is an essential human right”, she posted on Twitter. She pointed out that the reason Boulos was imprisoned is his work to defend the people that are being evicted in São Paulo. To the deputy, the objective of the military police with this invasion was to capture him. “This is persecution and fascism”, she said.

São Paulo councilwoman Juliana Cardoso also linked this event to the political context of the country. “These are difficult times for Brazil. We’re getting closer and closer to state of exception. This detention was illegal, Boulos was a political prisoner”, she said to Brasil de Fato.

Federal deputy Paulo Teixeira also highlighted that this particular act of repression is a part of a policy of criminalization of popular movements, and state deputy Marcelo Freixo, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), offered Boulos his full support.

Jean Wyllys, federal deputy of the PSOL and LGBT activist, said that “Guilherme did nothing to justify his detention or so many hours in prison, held by a Police that should be working to reduce human rights violations instead of repressing social movements”. He also held governor Geraldo Alckmin, from the ruling PSDB party, accountable for this, and recalled that Alckmin is involved in the Odebrecht corruption scandal.

In a press communiqué, all of the PT state deputies expressed that Geraldo Alckmin’s administration systematically denies the Constitutional right to housing to the people of São Paulo. Not only that, but the governor also “promotes violence, by attacking 700 families and  throwing them out on the street precisely now when recession and unemployment are devastating the country, which goes to show his insensitivity towards the poor”.

The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) also expressed solidarity with the homeless families and with Guilherme Boulos. “To treat social problems as security issues is criminal behavior”, they said. “It’s obvious that this strategy of violence, which is also applied on rural areas, has the goal of intimidating and attacking workers from urban and rural areas”, the communiqué reads.

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