Latin America

Indigenous people protest in Brazil over land bill


Nearly 300 native Brazilians, armed with bows and arrows, have demonstrated against a bill which calls for allocation of land to indigenous people.

Brazil’s parliament will be authorized to allocate land to indigenous people should the bill is passed by the Congress. The responsibility has been under Brazilian president’s authority so far.

Demonstrators, who had gathered in front of the Congress in Brasilia on Tuesday, forcibly entered into a plenary parliament session, dancing in their traditional clothes – which was a sign of protest. Police stepped in afterward, arresting six people.

A policeman was reportedly wounded by an arrow shot.

“By bringing the decision to demarcate lands to Congress, technical criteria will be replaced by political ones,” said Adelar Cupinski, a legal adviser to the Indigenous Missionary Council.

Many native people are worried that legislators permit food and agribusiness industry to employ lands which previously belonged to Indians’ ancestors.

Brazil’s indigenous people’s concern cannot be considered groundless as a number of congressmen have allegedly expressed support for the change.

Henrique Eduardo Alves, the speaker of Brazil’s chamber of deputies, or the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil, has promised to stifle debate on the bill until an agreement is concluded.

Indian reserves have long been a source of contention in Brazil provoking several conflicts and violent demonstrations.

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