Sao Paulo, Brazil – Since Sao Paulo’s Itaquerão stadium was built, residents living in its vicinity, including retirees and families with children, told Al Jazeera their rent jumped between 20-35 percent, and new costs associated with living near the stadium were now too hard to manage.
On May 2, a group of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem-Teto (MTST, Homeless Workers Movement) took action on behalf of about 4,800 homeless people living near the $350-million stadium, where the first game of the World Cup will take place on Thursday, and set up camp. Residents call it the “People’s Cup” and they have flown the red MTST flag to protest billions of dollars spent on the stadiums, rather than housing.
Now, after living in the squatter’s camp for more than a month, they have a possible victory. The government reportedly has agreed to build new homes in the camp for “People’s Cup” residents, which the MTST said was a huge success.
The depth of the movement for the homeless has been “profound”, said Elena Santos da Silva from MTST, and government efforts to resolve the matter days before the World Cup have been widely interpreted as a move to stave off more MTST action before Brazil’s mega-event.
The Homeless Workers Group is one of the biggest social movements on Brazil’s front lines. It has fought to reduce the high deficit of housing through direction action, such as taking over abandoned buildings and land for Brazil’s homeless living in cities.