Photo: Indian protest in Brazil
Some 1,000 members of various indigenous groups gathered Wednesday along a downtown avenue in Brasilia to protest a Brazilian government initiative to change the rules for demarcating new reservations.
The demonstrators marched down the Esplanade of the Ministries, where all the buildings of the executive, legislative and judicial branches are located, and they became involved in several incidents in front of the presidential palace.
A small group of protesters tried to enter the palace but they were repelled by police.
The same scenario was repeated later in front of the Justice Ministry, after which the march wrapped up without any arrests or other incidents.
The Indians were protesting against a new regulation the Justice Ministry is studying that authorizes it and other government agencies to interfere with the demarcation of new reservations, something that so far has been exclusively within the purview of the state-run Brazilian National Indian Foundation, or Funai.
The government proposal, according to a communique released by the Brazilian Indigenous People’s Coordination agency, which organized the protest, “weakens Funai and creates a worrying scenario for the indigenous peoples.”