Indigenous groups gather in Brazil’s capital to protest against president’s land grant decision

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) – Thousands of indigenous people began gathering in Brazil’s capital on Monday in what was expected to be a protest against the president. Luiz Inacio Lula da SilvaPromises to create reserves and drive illegal miners and land grabbers from the territory have not been fulfilled.

Holding Lula’s government accountable appears to be the focus of this year’s 20th Freeland Camp, a week-long indigenous encampment held annually in Brasilia.

Last week, Prime Minister Lula created two new reserves, a far cry from the six reserves the government promised in April. At the time of the announcement, he acknowledged that “some of my friends may be dissatisfied.” He said the delay in naming the other protected areas was due to the governor’s order, and that creating new protected areas would create a new name for the approximately 800 non-Indigenous people who would ultimately be displaced. He added that he needed to find an area.

“Enough of legal genocide! Our rights are non-negotiable and no one can take away the rights of indigenous peoples from the constitution,” said a leading indigenous group from Brazil’s indigenous group in a statement released on Monday. The group’s open letter reads: The letter was addressed to the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government.

At least 251 communities have pending applications for approval from the federal government, according to the nonprofit Social and Environmental Research Institute.

“We are very disappointed in this government,” Munduruku indigenous leader Alessandra Colup told The Associated Press. “We know we have many enemies in this country, and Congress has “It’s one common enemy. But we didn’t expect to demarcate just two pieces of land this year.”

Lula took office in 2023 and promised to resume land grants to indigenous peoples, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who kept his promise not to add an inch to indigenous land. . But indigenous demands face growing opposition from the powerful agribusiness sector, which enjoys hundreds of seats in Congress and the support of several governors across the country.

About 8,000 people have gathered in Brasilia so far this year, according to protest organizers. They set up hundreds of tents on the main boardwalk. Some endured a long three-day bus trip. Activities within the camp include traditional dances, handicraft sales, debates, and political demonstrations.

More protesters were expected throughout the week.

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