This article reflects on the dangers related to the circulation and displacement of the urban poor in Brazil, which intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. The author describes a moment when Black women with small children asked for permission from the leadership of a local drug trafficking group to invade the empty rooms of the Nelson Mandela Occupation in downtown Rio de Janeiro, a common practice in the dispute for housing. However, suddenly there was a transformation in the logic of invasions. Rooms where single men lived became targets of dispute generating displacements between houses and cities. These practices are embedded in an intense and widespread network of mutual witness, placing questions of class, race, aging, and gender, as well as the power of criminal groups, in the same web of relationships. The author argues that local relations and mutual witnessing act in this continuum that is city-making in connection with uncertainty and opacity.

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