Brazilian indigenous leaders march for land and rights

Sao Paulo protest comes as congress considers taking power over native people's lands

Brazilian indigenous leaders march for land and rights

World Bulletin / News Desk

Indigenous leaders from across Brazil held a protest in Sao Paulo on Friday to demand recognition of their land rights and an end to violence against native communities.

The demonstration came as lawmakers are considering a constitutional change that would give them power over indigenous land - sparking fears that congress could be influenced by lobby groups working for commercial interests.

“The federal government doesn’t engage in dialogue with indigenous peoples,” David Guarani Mbya, a leader of the Guarani people, told Anadolu Agency. “Agribusiness interests in national congress right now are trying to develop laws to impede the demarcation of indigenous lands.”

The demonstration, which saw more than 20 tribal leaders from across Brazil joined by around 200 supporters, began at the Museum of Modern Art before spilling on to Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo’s main thoroughfare, and temporarily halting rush-hour traffic.

Life for indigenous people in Brazil is often characterized by violence and poverty. At least 53 Brazilian Indians were murdered in 2013 as a result of conflicts over land, according to the Indigenous Missionary Council.

Survival International, a group protecting the rights of native people, says there are around 240 tribes living in Brazil, totaling 900,000 people - less than one percent of Brazil’s population. The government has recognized 690 territories for the indigenous population.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ağustos 2015, 11:01