Protest over land rights in Brazil turns violent

A policeman facing off against a member of an indigenous tribe in Brazil during a protest over land rights on Tuesday.
A policeman facing off against a member of an indigenous tribe in Brazil during a protest over land rights on Tuesday.PHOTO: REUTERS

BRASILIA • Thousands of Brazilian indigenous tribe members have clashed with riot police while demonstrating in the country's capital, Brasilia, for greater land rights.

Some of the protesters were armed with bows and arrows, while policemen used tear gas.

Groups of demonstrators carried coffins to represent dead members of their tribes, whose ancestral lands are being taken over.

Some protesters tried to break into the Congress building.

The protest took place in what is dubbed as Indigenous Week.

It features a series of activities in the capital highlighting the many problems of various tribes as they attempt to coexist with an ever expanding agricultural industry and try to enforce their land rights.

Many attended the demonstration dressed in traditional garb, including feathers and body paint.

"The coffins represent all the indigenous people from 305 ethnic groups who have died over the years," said Ms Marize de Oliveira, 58 a historian of the Guarani people.

"The agricultural and evangelical lobby want to destroy our rights and turn Brazil into the world's breadbasket, ending biodiversity."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'Protest over land rights in Brazil turns violent'. Print Edition | Subscribe