Invasions embitter the Old Center of Rio de Janeiro


Mem de Sá, 291, invaded

The traditional center ancient of Riverbirthplace of renowned institutions such as the Cruzeiro Collegeknown for its academic excellence and prestige, and home to the former Tamandaré, has been plagued by a worrying wave of property invasions, generating a direct impact on the devaluation of the real estate market in the region.

The phenomenon, which became common especially throughout the Rua da Cariocabetween Praça Tiradentes and the widehas been extended to the imposing mansions in the surrounding area, such as those found in Mem de Sá Street. These places, in addition to being the target of illegal occupations, are often used as improvised warehouses by street vendors, further aggravating the situation.

The invasion is like a wide open door to illegality. It attracts other problems, such as the presence of street vendors guarding goods and beggars. One building, at number 291, is a vivid example of this absurdity“, laments Patrícia Gomesan 18-year-old student.

Property at Rua Mem de Sá, 291, is one of the buildings identified as being invaded by homeless people and street vendors in the Old Center

Another area affected by this worrying reality is the Rua Frei Caneca, recognized for its commercial diversity and concentration of varied stores. What was once a true commercial hub, even housing an open-air construction “mall”, is now facing a crisis marked by the indiscriminate invasion of properties, leaving owners and workers in a constant state of alert.

The most recent incident occurred at number 92 on the street, where drug addicts and drug dealers settled, transforming the building into a stronghold of instability and violence. “Workers are constant victims of threats, creating a climate of tension and insecurity that is reflected not only on individuals, but also on properties in the region, which suffer an alarming devaluation.“, complains a trader, who did not want to be identified.

With four clandestine drug sales outlets and two scrap depots, the street faces a daily challenge to maintain its clientele, who are often scared away by the feeling of imminent danger. Reports of extortion and robberies are frequent, affecting not only the owners of the establishments, but also the workers who find themselves constantly under threat.

Since the beginning of the year, the Military Police have increased policing in the area, but shopkeepers fear that the structure to accommodate homeless people, at the back of the National Cancer Institute (Inca), may have complicated the situation. “The police do their part, but they are soon released and return to their place”, claims a businesswoman, who preferred to remain anonymous.


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The article is in Portuguese

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