Municipal police are targeting journalists reporting on the violent eviction of residents in São Paulo, Brazil’s Pinheirinho Favela, according to The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
The Pinheirinho Favela, a shantytown of about 1,500 landless working families in the municipality of Sao Jose dos Campos, was raided by authorities on Jan. 22, according to a translation from the online blogging community Global Voices.
The raids came after a municipality effort to reclaim the site that belonged to a Lebanese businessman, who reportedly owed the municipality $15 million in back taxes, according to the North American Congress on Latin America.
Working families have been occupying Pinheirinho since 2004 and have established churches, libraries, shops and soccer fields.
Following the raids, police shot at a Brazilian radio reporter interviewing Pinheirinho refugees. After she identified herself as a journalist, showed press credentials and raised her arms in compliance with officers, an officer drew his gun. Shots were fired as the journalist ran, according to a translation from Brazil Current Radio.
The newspaper Folha de São Paulo reported that a vehicle for the broadcaster Globo was set on fire in the community. No one was injured.
Police have been stationed at the entrances to Pinheirinho since the raid and have limited press access to the community. The police have prevented journalists from interviewing squatters in the community, according to The Knight Center.