Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: I was shooting the clear-out by the police of a building which belonged to a giant telecommunications company and had been taken over by homeless people a week earlier. It was my third day there as I was doing a photo essay on the occupation and I was more interested in the aesthetics of the shacks and how people managed to build a home.
Still, there was tension in the air that the police could invade the place at any moment. When I arrived that morning, it was still dark and I saw more than 1,000 police officers surrounding the area. Some of the homeless were leaving on their own but there was a lot of confusion and small riots outside. I took this picture about 15 minutes after I managed to enter the area, which was very challenging.
The image is both strong and sad because the man is poor, black, unarmed and helpless against a whole squad of a heavily armed police spraying tear gas right into his eyes.
It was a challenge shooting this image and avoiding being beaten, because people were extremely violent and they didn’t care if you were journalist.
Riot police use pepper gas against residents of the Telerj slum as they attempt to repossess the land in Rio de Janeiro, April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Ana Carolina Fernandes