Violent Eviction of Women Who Occupied Illegally Acquired Land
Brazil in focus ⬿

Violent Eviction of Women Who Occupied Illegally Acquired Land

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March 6, 2008

The Rural Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) has blockaded eight roads in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. This action comes in response to the “violence and abuses” committed against 900 women two days ago.

Organized as part of a “week of mobilization for Agrarian Reform and against the violence of big land-owners”, the women of La Via Campesina decided to occupy a plot of land that was illegally acquired by the Swedish-Finnish company Stora Enso.

According to Via Campesina, Brazilian law states foreigners cannot own land that’s “less than 150 kilometers off the border with other countries.” Stora Enso’s 5,200-acre tree farm lies within that boundary, near the Uruguayan border.

As the regional government did nothing to prevent Stora Enso from setting up its operation, the women decided to take action themselves. In turn, Stora Enso asked government to intervene and remove the protesters.

Arresting hundreds and injuring close to fifty – the government did just that. Mainstream reports suggest there were no injuries (except to the police) however the MST say the abuses have been documented on CD.

Real World Radio adds that the arrested were then “sent to a gym where they stayed during the night “without food”, and one of them was sent to jail, according to the MST’s article. However, the women of La Via Campesina will continue the demonstrations today.”

The violent action will now be presented to the Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, along with documents proving “the irregular situation of Stora Enso.”

It’s in Spanish, but if you’d like to learn more about what actions are being taken during this week action, please see here

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