Photo: Indian protest in Brazil
While activists waved a banner emblazoned with the face of an indigenous person, just below the national flag of Brazil, a score of Pataxo Indians performed traditional dances and displayed posters denouncing a bill in Congress that would alter the rules governing the demarcation of indigenous territories.
The proposal that sparked the protests has been stymied since 2000 in the lower house and, after 12 years of virtually no action, it was dusted off last year and approved by several committees.
The most controversial point in the text proposes that power over the creation and demarcation of indigenous reservations pass from the executive branch to Congress.
The demonstrators said that the modification would give more power to land barons and mining and timber firms operating in Amazonia, where the majority of the country’s Indian reservations are located.
The mobilizations staged on Tuesday in Brasilia are the first in a series of protests that will be undertaken this week in several cities around the country.
In Brasilia, the Indians have requested a Tuesday meeting with lawmakers with an eye toward expressing their rejection of the controversial bill, which was proposed by members of the legislative caucus representing agri-business.