Fighting Olympic eviction

As sports arenas rise up around them and neighbors houses are demolished, around 50 families remain in Vila Autodromo, a favela bordering the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro. About half of those refuse to leave the favela, which they describe as “paradise” because of a lack of violence compared with poor areas elsewhere in the city. With a year until the Games come to Brazil, over 90 percent of residents have already left after accepting compensation. The holdouts, despite violent run-ins with police, vow to fight eviction whatever the cost. Living in a ghost town with sporadic access to water and electricity, the families have become a symbol against the use of the Olympic Games to modernize Rio, a move critics say is only benefiting the rich.--By Reuters
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Children play near demolished houses in the Vila Autodromo slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 28. As sports arenas rise up around them and neighbors houses are demolished, around 50 families remain in Vila Autodromo, a favela bordering the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro. About half of those refuse to leave the favela, which they describe as "paradise" because of a lack of violence compared with poor areas elsewhere in the city. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Construction work for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park is seen from a partially demolished house in Vila Autodromo on Aug. 13. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Luisa de Oliveira, 23, poses for a photograph at her house on July 31. When asked to describe the community, Oliveira said: "Vila Autodromo is a piece of my history which they are trying to take away from us." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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An aerial view shows Vila Autodromo in Rio de Janeiro on July 29. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Antonio de Barros, 52, poses for a photograph at his house in the Vila Autodromo on Aug. 13. When asked to describe the community, Barros said: "I like it here, it is a good place to live, there is no drug trafficking, it is close to my work and I hope I'll stay here." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Construction work for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park is seen from a partially demolished house in the Vila Autodromo on July 28. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Marcia Lemos, 58, poses for photograph at her house on July 31. When asked to describe the community, Lemos said: "This place is paradise, a health spa for poor people. A community where there is no militia, no trafficking, no gang members. There is no other place like this in Rio de Janeiro." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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An aerial view shows the Vila Autodromo on July 29. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Denise Costa, 65, poses for a photograph at her house in Vila Autodromo slum on July 31. When asked to describe the community, Costa said: "It's a really good place to live, it's a quiet, family community. This is not like other places where there are gang members. Now everybody is sad because the families got split up when some wanted to go to one place and others to somewhere else. Simply because of Olympic Games, a lot of families were destroyed." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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A child flies a kite near demolished houses in Vila Autodromo on July 28. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Jorge Reis, 68, poses for a photograph at his house on July 31. When asked to describe the community, Reis said: "Vila Autodromo is a paradise. There are no walls between the houses and the lagoon, there is no danger." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Construction work for the Rio 2016 Olympic Park is seen from a partially demolished house in the Vila Autodromo slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 31. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Sandra de Souza, 47, poses for a photograph at her house on Aug. 13. When asked to describe the community, Souza said: "The Vila Autodromo is like a resort. It looks like, even with the demolition, a small city inside a metropolis. It's upsetting seeing city hall destroying everything. They are putting an end to part of the city of Rio de Janeiro." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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A house stands in Vila Autodromo on July 31. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Maria da Penha, 50, poses for a photograph at her house in Vila Autodromo on July 31. When asked to describe the community, Penha said: "The Vila Autodromo is a piece of paradise in Rio de Janeiro, an orderly, peaceful community where I'm really happy. I hope that my rights will be respected and I can carry on living here." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Miro de Almeida, 51, looks from the window of a house in Vila Autodromo on July 31. When asked to describe the community, Almeida, who has lived there for 16 years, said: "I like living here, it's calm, it's tranquil." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Children play soccer in the Vila Autodromo slum on July 28. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Sandra Regina, 52, poses for a photograph at her house on Aug. 13. When asked to describe the community, Regina said: "There are no words to describe the community. There is no problem with gang members here. My son goes to work and I’m not worried about what time he comes back. Our concern is with what happens on the streets, outside the community. This place should be improved and not destroyed." (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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Children play near demolished houses in Vila Autodromo on July 28. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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