The DESOCUPA Movement emerged from the growing dissatisfaction of Salvador’s population with the extreme level of corruption in the municipal administration, particularly concerning the “sale” of the city to private interests. It has no partisan alignment or any kind of financial support. The movement’s strength comes directly from the citizens of Salvador, who got tired of feeling ashamed of the city they love.
The intense debate on the subject, started in social networks, led to the calling of a public manifestation to repudiate the privatization of public spaces by Salvador’s City Hall. A private organization is occupying more than 9.000 square meters of a public square, to make a private party in the upcoming carnival. Furthermore, only three days later, the population of Salvador received, the shocking news that the mayor, Mr. João Henrique Barradas Carneiro, had sanctioned changes that were proposed in the LOUOS (Law of Occupation, Use and Land Order), approved by a shameful majority of the City Council, all of them “bought” by private interests.
The LOUOS was challenged judicially by Ministério Público (Public Ministry – a body of independent prosecutors, in charge of upholding justice in all levels of administration) because the approval of the changes by the City Council were made against proceduresdeclared in the Brazilian Constitution (among them, the public debate before any approval). The amendments approved include one to reduce the power from deliberative to simply consultative and also reduce the the representativeness of the City Comission Board and of the city’s Environmental Council; another amendment allows for a fifty percent increase of the construction height allowed for buildings along the seafront: to up to 27 floors (54 meters), which will create shade on the beach before 10 AM and after 2 PM. Also approvedwithin the law, was the extinction of the Parque Ecológico do Vale Encantado, an Atlantic forest reserve, with one million square meters, located between Avenida Paralela and the seacoast; and the creation of nine perimeters intended for the construction of hotels – from Lobato, in the “suburbs rails”, to the famous bohemian beach neighborhood of Itapuã.
After being on vacation (while the City Council approved the referred amendments), the mayor came for a day to Salvador, sanctioned the law without giving any explanation to the society, and fled to Europe the next day. Two days later, more than 1,000 people (according to the estimates made by the Police and released by the A Tarde newspaper) protested at the Municipal Square to demonstrate their revolt towards the city’s administrational chaos, whose political, moral and institutional fragility sets up the perfect environment for the predatory performance of private capital, especially in the real estate, urban cleaning, transportation and also, most recently, in the Carnival Industry.
The successful protest on the January 20th 2012, a demonstration of the strength of the so-called BAIANO SPRING, lead to a second protest, on the first of February. A GREAT MARCH, with more than 2,000 people, occupied the streets of downtown Salvador, demanding the IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF THE ILLEGAL CHANGES THAT WERE MADE TO THE LOUOS, among other demands in the agenda of the different social movements that marched together and make up the DESOCUPA! MOVEMENT. The event was motivated by the mayor´s return to Salvador, for the opening session of this year´s City Council. Once again, however, we were shocked by a new trip by the Mayor, this time to Rio de Janeiro, being the first time in his 8 years in power to be away for thissolemn occassion.
We are still fighting and need support! The struggle against the subjugation that the economic power imposes to the political power is a struggle of all people. The Brazilian economy is growing and a lot of money is circulating to operate this growth. But we, the 99%, want this growth to be real an equal to all society. We won´t let our public rights be thrown away in the name of private interests!
Be part of this: http://www.movimentodesocupa.wordpress.com
P.S.: DESOCUPA is an “anthropophagic” appropriation of the OCCUPY reference, brought from the movements happening around the globe and attaching new meanings to it, in a way that is very characteristic of Brazilian people, when using international references (look up for Anthropophagic Movement and for Tropicalia to better understand). “Desocupa” means the oposite of Occupy, and it is a way of us to say “get your greedy hands away from our city, our public spaces, our parks, our money!”