As a part of International Peasant Struggle Day, as well as the National Day of the struggle for Agrarian Reform (established by the government in 2002) MST Brazil has initiated several large-scale protests and blockades, aswell as a Petition campaign (see below)
From the WW4Report: Hundreds of rural workers occupied the offices of the National Agrarian Reform Institute in Brasilia, and thousands more invaded farms and blocked roads on April 16, demanding the government speed up moves to give land to small farmers and peasants. Protesters stormed the building at dawn and shut the doors to staff. They moved to the cellar by early evening, after authorities agreed to dialogue.
“The movement demands the federal government meet its obligation to settle 150,000 families living under plastic sheets throughout the country in the name of the struggle for agrarian reform,” the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) said in a statement.
Thousands of MST adherents also marched in the state of Bahia and several hundreds invaded farms in Goias, Espirito Santo and other states. Five hundred protesters blocked the main road linking Brasilia to Belem in the Amazon region. The protests are part of a month of coordinated activities dubbed “Red April” in honor of 19 peasants killed by police at an Amazon settlement 11 years ago. (source)
From IPS News: In addition, Thursday, Apr. 19 is National Indigenous People’s Day in Brazil. The “Free Land Camp” in the centre of Brasilia, where leaders of many of the country’s indigenous groups have gathered, is to end on Thursday with a hearing that President Luiz InÃ¡cio Lula da Silva is expected to attend.
The camp is organised as an annual event, and this year’s is the largest yet, “with over a thousand participants,” the coordinator of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Northeast, Minas Gerais and EspÃritu Santo (APOINME), Ilton TuxÃ¡, told IPS. He said it indicated a greater degree of mobilisation and an opportunity for change in the relations between the Brazilian state and indigenous people.
In addition to the demarcation of a number of indigenous territories that are awaiting official recognition, the demonstration is calling for the creation of an Indigenist Policy Commission to define broader, “non-authoritarian” policies, according to Jecinaldo Cabral, coordinator of the Indigenous Organisations of the Brazilian Amazon.
They hope that President Lula will sign a document creating the Commission at the hearing on Thursday, TuxÃ¡ said. (source)
The Petition Campaign
From the MST – As you know, our movement is mobilizing throughout Brazil for another campaign demanding Agrarian Reform in our country.
As you also know, April 17th is the International Day of Peasant Struggle as called for by La Via Campesina International and for that reason in many countries of the world, similar campaigns and protests are being organized by peasant organizations.
Here in Brazil in June of 2002, then-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso signed Bill 10.469, proposed by then-senator Marina Silva and approved by the Brazilian Congress, designating April 17th as the National Day of Struggle for Agrarian Reform.
So this year on April 17th, besides mobilizations, we are asking our Friends abroad, our friends in Congress and in each state capital to send a letter to President Lula with the proposals of the MST for agrarian reform.
If you can, no matter where you live outside of Brazil, sign the sample letter to the President [SEE HERE], or write your own, and send it to the local Brazilian consulate or embassy and/or send emails directly to the Palacio do Planalto in Brasilia.
Email your letter to:
(1) Your local Brazilian consulate or embassy: [ SEE: http://www.brazilsf.org/other_consulates_eng.htm ]
(2) President Lula: [ email@example.com ]
(3) Marizete, the presidential secretary: [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]
(4) Please also send us a copy of your emails, using our office in Brasilia: [ email@example.com ]
Thank you very much. AbraÃ§os,
General Secretariat of the MST
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