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Activists of Ocupe Estelita are persecuted

 

The struggle concerning Cais José Estelita, in Recife/PE, has drawn the attention of the civil society, who has criticized the public power and private companies that, respectively, enabled and developed a project with tremendous social and urbanistic impact in the area without any public participation. On the one hand, the government has responded to activists who were fighting for the Estelita quay with police repression. On the other hand, the construction companies responsible for Projeto Novo Recife have turned a blind eye to criticism. Some of the companies have even filed lawsuits against people who are against the project, demanding that activists pay for moral damages and remove from the web any media that exposes the firms. CPDH has provided legal assistance to the activists of Movimento Ocupe Estelita who fell victim to censorship.

 

Presence in protests

CPDH has been present in popular riots and demonstrations regarding numerous vindications in Recife and its metropolitan area. We were there in the resistance actions organized by Movimento Ocupe Estelita and by workers of the informal sector, as well as in protests related to the right to housing, to quality and affordable public transportation, to the legalization of marijuana, and several other causes that are pro-Human rights - or that fight against setbacks for these rights. Working against the criminalization of social movements and activists is one of our top priorities, and something that has been on our agenda since day one.

In the year of 2013, which was crucial for the Brazilian political context, CPDH provided pro bono legal advice to meet the needs that came forth due to the numerous demonstrations that began to take over the streets in June, when, unfortunately, a lot of police repression against the citizens also came to our notice. In the occasion, we made available an emergency hotline so the population could make contact any time of day to denounce violations. CPDH called for meetings with lawyers so they could monitor the demonstrations and the violation of rights that would come about. Moreover, we had a team of lawyers specifically writing lawsuits to be used for criminal cases, in case demonstrators were criminalized and arrested. CPDH was present in the demonstrations, defended arrested citizens in the police stations, and also went to court to free those who were arrested. Currently, we keep assisting citizens in demonstrations organized by social movements, who make contact with us, and also in spontaneous demonstrations by the civil society.