In a series of interviews with the Children Win Campaign, a year on we remember how Rio residents’ lives came second to the Olympics.

 

“To the future host countries, I ask that people stay alert and not let mega events be something more important than the life of the people in a city.” Rio-Mother Ana Paula                     Read more about her story

 

Part of the preparations for the Rio Olympics included the militarisation and ‘sanitisation’ of the city. This meant that people disappeared from the streets, while incarceration and deaths increased. The Mega Event also pushed many people out of their homes and led to what an interviewee has called “an ethical and urban cleaning in some favelas”, with enormous help from the police. Gabriel – who was 17 at the time – was the first person to be arrested during the Olympics protests, he tells us how these preparations to the games “created a police state that controlled people from the favelas”. The so-called ‘urban cleaning’ meant that entire communities were forcibly evicted.

 

“If everything happened again, I would be there again, protesting against these Games that continue to be the ‘Exclusion Games’ after one year.” Gabriel Reis, youth                                                                 Read more about his story

 

We look at Vila Autódromo one year later. As we are told, the consequences of this eviction are still strongly felt by the people. The community living in Vila Autódromo, originally home to 700 families, had been under threat of eviction for over 26 years, when in 2016, authorities used the Olympic Games as a premise to evict them, using the money it brought to remove the community. Thus a series of forced evictions took place, bringing with them violence and destruction, tearing lives apart. The construction of the new living area the Government built for the residents of Vila Autódromo, have still not been completed. There is no place for children to play, no cultural space, no sports court – all facilities they previously had, before they were demolished.

 

“The Olympics only take place for one month; the effects on the lives of families are there to stay.  What you should remove is only trash, not people’s histories. ” 51-year-old mother Maria de Penha                                                                     Read more about her story                                

 

Follow the series of articles on www.childrenwin.org

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