RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Squatters in Rio de Janeiro clashed with police on Friday after a Brazilian court ordered the eviction of nearly 5,000 people from abandoned buildings.
More than 1,000 police officers arrived to move people out of the buildings and parking lot owned by the telecommunications company Oi.
Some families left peacefully, but many others fought police with rocks and Molotov cocktails and set fire to parts of a building, four buses and a police cruiser, police said. The vehicles of local TV stations were also attacked.
Officers used tear gas, stun grenades and pepper spray to disperse the families.
"When the police arrived, some of them asked us to remain calm but others started pushing us around," squatter Drielo Almeida told TV Globo's G1 internet news portal. "Now I am crying because I have nowhere to go to. I have no place to live."
Rodrigo Moreira said faced a choice of squatting or starving.
"With the money I earn I could either pay rent or eat. That is why I came here," he told G1.
Police spokesman Claudio Costa told the Globo TV network that the "eviction was successfully completed in three hours," but that groups of people continued clashing with police in surrounding areas.
During the clash, five police officers, three children and four squatters were injured and taken to nearby hospitals where they were treated for bruises and smoke inhalation and discharged.
Costa said police detained more than 20 people, some for attacking police officers and others who tried to loot a supermarket and shops in nearby neighborhoods.
The O Globo newspaper said its reporter Bruno Amorim who was covering the eviction was taken into custody but released hours later.