Self Determined Participatory Action of Marginalized Groups: The streets of São Paulo

condepe são paulo – mães de maio (en)

(clique aqui para versão portuguesa)

After two days on the streets (soon more in another post) with a friend who lived more than 10 years in the streets of São Paulo, we terminated our journey at the CONDEPE-SP which took place at Espaço da Cidadania André Franco Montoro”, located at Largo Pateo do Collegio, 184 , right beside Praça de Sé.

The CONDEPE or Conselho Estadual de Defesa dos Direitos da Pessoa Humana (the states council for the protection of the rights of the human being) is a public institution composed of representatives of the civic society and public authorities whose aim is to „investigate violations of human rights on the territory of the state São Paulo, forward denunciations and representation to the corresponding and competent authorities and to study and propose general solutions for the related problems, in order to protect the basic rights of the human being“.

This Thursdays council has been a special public audience in certain ways: several members of the Mães de Maio publicly demanded the clearing of the executions of their children in May 2006 which has been supposedly conducted by assassination squads that existed and presumably still exist within the Brazilian military police (Polícia Militar – PM). The victims were predominantly black kids (jovens negros), afro-indigenous-descendants and poor, who lived in the peripheries of Baixada Santista , the metropolitan region that surrounds the city of Santos, on the coast of the state of São Paulo.

We are mothers, family members and friends of the victims of state violence (primarily police), that came together at the begin of the notorious Crimes of May 2006 […] During May 2006, police and paramilitary assassination squads caused one of the most shameful scandals in the history of Brazil”. In a cynic and mendacious „wave of responses“ at the so called „attacks of the PCC (PCC – Primeiro Comando da Capital) as they have been referred to by the big media, at least 493 persons were assassinated – today considered either dead or missing. The great majority – more then 400 black kids, afro-indigenous-descendants and poor – basically executed. Without doubt is this the major and most symptomatic massacre in recent Brazilian history.(Mães de Maio, 2010) [Flayer(pt) pdf].

The fact that the majority of the victims have been black kids, raised the general criticism of institutional racism against poor and predominantly black Brazilian citizens, here with respect to racial motivated police violence. The assassinations of May 2006, the killing of two black motoboys in 2009, the Operacão Saturacaõ in Jardim Paraisopolis in 2009 and the most recent attacks at the Rota (Rondas Ostensivas Tobias de Aguiar, a battalion of Policia Militar in São Paulo) which resulted in 36 death in the first days after the attack, have been exemplary cited by black/afro and social movements in their open letter to CONDEPE and the citizens of São Paulo [ Open Letter(pt) pdf]. In this letter, several movements and groups demand the immediate dismissal of the Secretary of Public Security, Antonio Ferreira Pinto and the Colonel General of the Military Police, Álvaro Camilo.

condepe - são paulocondepe - são paulo

During the audience, a vast variety of reports have been given on the attacks in May 2006. Several women of Mães de Maio talked about the death of their children and heavily criticized that most of those cases, after 4 years, are still not clarified.

A reporter from Santos spoke about his investigations that have been published in the newspaper O Tribunal de Santos in 2010 in which he showed that assassination squads exist within the Polícia Militar, and that those groups carried out the assassinations in 2006 and presumably more in the following years.

A representative of the Movemento Nacional da Populacão de Rua spoke about the notorious (police) violence against the the city’s streets inhabitants and emphasized their very vulnerable living conditions, which means that people die unidentified after attacks due to the fact that many of them don’t possess papers.

The secretary of the Department of Public Security was invited as well but didn’t show up but sent instead a representative which citied in his speech an internal report about the investigations on the attacks in May 2006. As a consequence a small number of police members have been detained. The representative heavily defended the “glorious” Policia Militar and tried to leave immediately after his speech, but several persons in the audience and the head of CONDEPE heavily criticized that public organs have been invited to listen to the victims of police violence, don’t show up personally but send representatives instead , which in turn don’t want to listen what citizens have to say. The representative was finally forced to stay despite other “important” dates.

The following audio files have been recorded during the audience. All records can be found on archive.org and are available under public domain.

01. Ivan Seixas – Head of CONDEPE – intro [mp3]

[…] the dead of Christiano is a symbolic case for us […] a poor citizen, a black citizen, a young boy, a worker, is not supposed to die […] if he was a criminal, even if he was a criminal, he was not supposed to be executed […]

02. Doutor Márquez de Rivera – presents statistics of killed persons due to police violence in the state/the city of São Paulo from 2004 to 2009 [mp3]

[…] who works in this area of human rights since many years and who will talk about a very dangerous development which is an engagement to assassinations, to massacres, that happen in the city of São Paulo […]

03. Ivan Seixas – numbers of death of a civil war [mp3]

[…] its not normal to kill, we were not programmed to kill, the police is not programmed to kill, not prepared to kill, this is fundamentally important for us […] the numbers of a civil war in a city, in a state like we have here are shocking,, are alarming, we have to do something […]

04. Doutor Henrique Carlos Gonçalves do Conselho Regional de Medicina do Estado São Paulo – [mp3]

05. Ivan Seixas – talks about assassination squads within the Polícia Militar [mp3]

[…] this is extremely severe for us, extremely severe, because it became evident due to a series of articles published in the newspaper of Santos, that the group is an assassination squad, which is formed with the declared intention to kill, and now, killing, they know who is going to die, who is a criminal, according to their definition […]

06. representative of  Movemento Nacional da Populacão de Rua – [mp3]

[…] in this data that was assembled, we don’t know for example if people from the streets were included., because persons from the streets who have no papers and ids and which are killed […] are cases that nobody is looking at […]

07. Ivan Seixas – talks about the function of CONDEPE [mp3]

[…] it is extremely important that the people understand what CONDEPE is, what its purpose is. CONDEPE is not an individual entity, it is composed of other entities and there exist no strong CONDEPE without strong entities. Now, this entities, they alone have not the power CONDEPE has, and which is available through CONDEPE to them, such as […] the power to enter every unit of the state of São Paulo […] to claim, to request documents, clarifications, informations, reports, from every entity of the state of São Paulo, from the government of the state of São Paulo […] therefore it doesn’t make the slightest sense to stop […] therefore I issue an invitation to all entities that are now present to use this instrument. We don’t receive anything for our work, our work is voluntary and is supposed to help the community. Every entity can participate in CONDEPE and can use it as instrument for actions […]

08. Renato Santana – talks about investigations that revealed the existence of assassination squads within the Polícia Militar [mp3]

[…] In the Tribunal de Santos, the reporter Renato Santana wrote a series of articles about the assassination squads that acted there in Baixada […]”

09. Condepe – some declarations [mp3]

[…] we could debate with the state, not with the government – the government goes away, the state stays – debate with the public and police agents […] in order to find alternatives that avoid or stop that large number of killings that occurs and push the people in the audience […]

10. Dona ChristinaMães de Maio – mother of Christiano, talks about the assassination of her son and the non existence of investigation [mp3]

[…] I asked him – “you are leaving?” – and he said – “yes, just came back home to take my shoes” – […] that was the last time I saw him. Afterwards I looked in all places, in the hospitals, nothing […]

11. The representative of the Antônio Ferreira Pinto – Secretary of Public Security [mp3]

Ivan Seixas: “[…] I regret that you (the representative) have to leave, because, as always, we published a public invitation, invited all secretaries, and so on and so forth, and the secretaries don’t send their titleholders, but instead send representatives. And you came as representative but have to leave, without listening to the families that are going to talk […] and exactly because of this, the titleholders don’t come, send representatives, the representatives have to leave immediately, i propose the following compromise: you are going to listen to the Defensoria Publica and afterwards, we are going to bring to the Secretary of Security, to the Secretary of Justice, to the Casa Civil, to the government, all the reports or claims, and the proposals, the many proposal that request the dismissal of the commander of the PM, the dismissal of the secretary of security, and we have to discuss this […]

12. unknown speaker – a structural problem of police violence [mp3]

[…] what is important for the government to admit is that there exist a problem with the police, not with one or another policeman. If it has been just one or another policeman, that problem would have been already resolved but as the numbers show, every year exist a larger and absolutely disproportional number of death’s […]

13. Roseli de Oliveira – coordinates the Programa e Políticas para a População Negra e Indígena do Estado de São Paulo [mp3]

[…] the question of racism is a structural problem, not only in the systems of police and justice, its a structural problem of the Brazilian society. […]

14. Mães de Maio [mp3]

[…] we came from Baixada Santista, we didn’t come as tourists to São Paulo, we came to confront the state, the state has to give an answer to us about what happens in Baixada Santista […]

15. Flavia GonzagesMães de Maio – talks about the death of her son Marcus Paulo [mp3]

“[…]just one policeman arrested, its ridiculous, ridiculous. 23 killed in 3 days, and my son was right in the middle of them. He was no animal, he died like waste. I don’t have anything else to say, he died like waste […]”

Update 2010.09.03

The blog of the Mães de Maio and the site Passa Palavra released articles about the CONDEPE and linked to the audios that are available at archive.org. Cool!! Read the posts on the blog Mães de Maio (2010a) and at Passa Palavra (2010b).


Amparar et al., 2010. Carta Aberta ao Condepe-SP e à Sociedade Paulista. Available at: http://rtc.noblogs.org/files/2010/08/CartaAbertaCondepe2010.pdf [Accessed September 3, 2010].

Mães de Maio, 2010. Mães de Maio – Contra a Violência do Estado. Available at: http://rtc.noblogs.org/files/2010/08/maesdemaio2010.pdf [Accessed September 3, 2010].

r3cl41m, 2010. Condepe São Paulo, Available at: http://www.archive.org/details/CondepeSoPaulo_446 [Accessed August 23, 2010].


Azevedo, S. & Leão, N., 2010. A tropa está fora de controle? ISTOÉ Independente – Brasil. Available at: http://www.istoe.com.br/reportagens/73271_A+TROPA+ESTA+FORA+DE+CONTROLE+ [Accessed August 23, 2010].

CREMESP, CREMESP – Conselho Regional de Medicina do Estado de São Paulo. CREMESP – Conselho Regional de Medicina do Estado de São Paulo. Available at: http://www.cremesp.com.br/ [Accessed August 23, 2010].

D.A., 2006. Operação Saturação. CMI Brasil. Available at: http://www.midiaindependente.org/eo/blue/2006/09/361301.shtml [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Governo de São Paulo, Coordenação de Políticas para a população negra e indígena. Governo do Estado de São Paulo – Secretaria de Estado. Available at: http://www.justica.sp.gov.br/novo_site/Modulo.asp?Modulo=607 [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Governo de São Paulo, Secretaria da Justiça e da Defesa da Cidadania. Governo do Estado de São Paulo – Secretaria de Estado. Available at: http://www.justica.sp.gov.br/novo_site/ [Accessed August 23, 2010].

guarujaense, 2010. AS CAUSAS NÃO PUBLICADAS DO ESTADO DE SÍTIO EM GUARUJÁ (SP). CMI Brasil. Available at: http://midiaindependente.org/pt/blue/2010/04/470231.shtml [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Lente, F., Collucci, C. & Carvvalho, M.C., 2006. [SP] 272 cadáveres no IML de SP; lista de nomes ainda não divulgada!! CMI Brasil. Available at: http://www.midiaindependente.org/pt/red/2006/05/353903.shtml [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Mães de Maio, Mães de Maio. Mães de Maio. Available at: http://maesdemaio.blogspot.com/ [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Mães de Maio, 2010a. Audios da Audiência Pública do Condepe. MÃES DE MAIO. Available at: http://maesdemaio.blogspot.com/2010/08/audios-da-audiencia-publica-do-condepe.html [Accessed September 3, 2010].

Mães de Maio, 2010b. Mães de Maio contra a violência do Estado. Passa Palavra. Available at: http://passapalavra.info/?p=28579 [Accessed September 3, 2010].

MISÉRIA, 2010. Mortes aumentam depois de ataques contra a Rota. Revista Miséria. Available at: http://miseriahq.blogspot.com/2010/08/rota.html [Accessed August 23, 2010].

MNPR, FalaRua. FalaRua. Available at: http://www.falarua.org/ [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Passa Palavra, 2009. A revolta de Paraisópolis para além dos fatos. Passa Palavra. Available at: http://passapalavra.info/?p=643 [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Santana, R., 2010. 4 ANOS DOS CRIMES DE MAIO. INFÂNCIA URGENTE!!!!! Available at: http://infanciaurgente.blogspot.com/2010/04/4-anos-dos-crimes-de-maio.html [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Sindicato dos Jornalistas, 2010. Jornalista que denunciou grupos de extermínio na Baixada Santista sofre ameaças. www.sjsp.org.br. Available at: http://www.sjsp.org.br/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2809&Itemid=1 [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Stochero, T., 2010. Ataque à Rota pode ser vingança. Diário de São Paulo. Available at: http://www.diariosp.com.br/_conteudo/2010/08/3269-ataque+a+rota+pode+ser+vinganca.html [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010a. Baixada Santista. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baixada_Santista [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010b. May 2006 São Paulo violence. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_2006_S%C3%A3o_Paulo_violence [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010c. Metropolitan area. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_area [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010d. Military police. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_police#azil [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010e. Polícia Militar. Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre. Available at: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol%C3%ADcia_Militar [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010f. Primeiro Comando da Capital. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primeiro_Comando_da_Capital [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010g. Rondas Ostensivas Tobias de Aguiar. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rondas_Ostensivas_Tobias_de_Aguiar [Accessed August 23, 2010].

Wikipedia, 2010h. Santos, São Paulo. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santos_%28S%C3%A3o_Paulo%29 [Accessed August 23, 2010].

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