On Friday May 1st 2010, aka May Day, community leaders, favela residents, public defenders, engineers, architects, leaders of non-profit organizations, and religious leaders converged in front of Rio de Janeiro’s City Hall in what turned out to be a peaceful and important event. Despite the rather low turnout the event was significant for a number of reasons.
The peaceful protest was the first to take place since Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes and his administration announced the immediate and complete removal of several favela communities. It was the first occasions in which various source of media were present, covering the event. Reports on the number of people varied; however, at its peak it is likely that there were roughly 300 people present at the demonstration. The following were positive results of the event:
- The media has finally begun to give the issue (the forced removal and the resistance to it), the coverage it deserves.
- Certain prominent people, such as Chico Alencar, a Federal Deputy, were present and promised to raise the issue at the National/Federal level.
- Rio’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, finally agreed to sit down and discuss the issue with 8 members of a Commission representing the communities marked for immediate and complete removal. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 4th .