National rally “we are all Pinheirinho” brings together 4000 people in São José dos Campos
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 01:44

Not even the scorching heat of 35°C chased away the protesters who participated in the Solidarity National Rally to support Pinheirinho’s residents, on Thursday, April 2. With a lot of willingness, about 4,000 people topped the streets of São José dos Campos with their banners, flags, shields, posters and above all a lot of sympathy with all poor workers of Pinheirinho who were brutally evicted by the cowardly action of the Governor of São Paulo state Geraldo Alckmin.

The protest, one of the greatest protests ever held in the city, had a great enhancement of caravans coming from the states of Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul who joined Pinheirinho’s residents. A number of other activists’ caravans also attended the protest coming from the capital (São Paulo city), Campinas, Vale do Paraíba, among other municipalities from inland state.

The protest had the support and participation of several entities of the labor and popular movements. Among them, the CSP-Conlutas, MTST, MST, CMP, dozens of unions in several states, and political parties such as PSTU, PSOL, PCB and PT[1].

One of the highlights was the presence of a column of MST activists who brought the residents of Pinheirinho four trucks loaded with groceries, grown by their own, for the displaced families.

Concentrated in Afonso Pena Square, downtown of São José, protesters held a political act before starting the rally. The first to speak was William Boulos, from MTST.

"Today we performed a political act, a rally. Tomorrow we will occupy the buildings, the roads. This is our only alternative to confront the capitalism", he addressed.

Following, the national leader of the MST, Gilmar Mauro, incisively criticized the Judiciary reminding cases where the riches were quickly acquitted by their crimes, while poor workers suffer with coward evictions and repression. "The Brazilian Judiciary power sucks!” he said, drawing applauses from the crowd.

The leader also demanded a solution from Dilma Rousseff’s national government. "The federal government has to be courageous enough to expropriate the land of Pinheirinho. This is the least”, he added.

The demand for a federal action was repeated emphatically by Cosme Victor, of CMP (Central of Popular Movements). "Dilma, it is useless to complain, we want to expropriate”, he demanded.

Serginho, of  MUST, spoke representing the residents of Pinheirinho. Thrilled, the activist expressed "pride and satisfaction" for the broad unity showed at the protest act. "Only united workers will be able to transform this country".

The Federal Representative, Chico Alencar (PSOL-RJ), has also demanded a concrete action from the federal government and promised to bring Pinheirinho’s massacre to the proceedings of the Human Rights Commission of the House of Representatives. "The only reparation of the presidency is the expropriation of Pinheirinho." State congressman Ivan Valente (PSOL-SP) has accused the executive of omission in the weeks before the eviction.

Through the streets of São José dos Campos the finding of many stories

Soon after the protest act, protesters marched through the main streets of São José dos Campos. During the rally, under a blazing sun, many stories about police abuse were reported to our reporting team. They are horror stories that still occur within the homeless’ shelters.

On the evening of February 1st, Valdir Martins, the “Marrom”, leader of Pinheirinho, was surrounded by a group of military police officers who tried to arrest him. The action took place in the Morumbi shelter, one of the places where the residents were taken to, after the eviction.  “Marrom” was not arrested by the police just because the residents moved quickly and prevented the police from doing so.

An employee of Urban, a municipal company which carried out the collection of residents’ belongings after the expropriation, reported he was forced to work in the "cleaning" of Pinheirinho. He also reported that many belongings were stolen, mainly by police officers. "A judicial officer was assigned to choose which would be taken or not in the truck. The residents were not allowed to pick up their belongings", said the employee who prefers to remain anonymous. According to him, it were stolen mainly cameras and electronics. He also revealed that all the food in the houses, including those in refrigerators, were thrown out.

True gangsters

After four hours of walking, the rally reached its goal, the City Hall of São José dos Campos, where it was held a final act.

Toninho Ferreira, lawyer for the residents, saluted the broad solidarity with the Pinheirinho’s people. "It's wonderful to know that a rural worker took part of his harvest to bring it to the people of Pinheirinho" he said. He also reaffirmed the willingness of struggle. "They could not break down our spine, the movement continues."

Speaking on behalf of PSTU, José Maria de Almeida, or “Zé Maria”, triggered applauses when he defended the residents and the leaders of Pinheirinho who are victims of a strong campaign of slanders in the press. "The real villain is occupying the Town Hall. It is he who slaughters Pinheirinho’s people to defend Naji Nahas”[2], he said.

He also demanded a concrete action from the government about the situation of the residents. "From the government we do not want just support, we want a solution”, he added.

The protest continued in the afternoon. After the act, many activists and delegations from all over the country visited the land where was the Pinheirinho, devastated by the PSDB. They will also visit the shelters where the homeless residents were taken to.

Source:, 02/02/2012

[1] MTST – Homeless Movemente, MST – Landless Movement, CMP - Association of Popular Movements , PSTU – Unified Socialist Workers Party, PSOL – Socialism and Freedom Party, PCB – Brazilian Communist Party and PT – Workers Party

[2] Naji Nahas - the alleged land’s owner, a financial speculator who has already been sentenced to prison by fraud.

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