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Squatters evicted in Brazil after standoff

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Sao Paulo, Feb 20 (EFE).- Police evicted squatters from a building complex here in Brazil's largest city on Thursday despite resistance from people who had been illegally occupying the premises for several months, authorities said.

No casualties were immediately reported, although the police action raised tensions and caused traffic jams in a Sao Paulo neighborhood that is home to Arena Corinthians soccer stadium, where World Cup matches will be played in June.

The residential complex was occupied last July by a group of 940 families who had refused to leave the buildings, which are owned by state-owned La Caixa Economica Federal bank.

Police used tear gas to disperse the squatters, who had erected barricades and set fire to objects in effort to keep out the police.

Caixa Economica Federal said in a statement that the condominiums are intended for families enrolled in the My House, My Life program, a government initiative that offers affordable housing to low-income families.

The buildings were fully built and the bank was waiting for final legal authorization before delivering the units to low-income beneficiaries.

"Caixa reiterates that it does not negotiate with squatters and always seeks to preserve the rights of the real beneficiaries, who were duly selected by the municipality under the 'My House, My Life' program," the bank said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/140220/squatters-evicted-brazil-after-standoff