Brazil’s Landless Rural Worker Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) (MST) kicked off yesterday what it calls a National Struggle Movement with the invasion and occupation of 21 buildings housing the Land Reform Institute (Incra).
They are also occupying six farms that they consider unproductive and eight branches of the Banco do Brasil (Brazil’s state Bank) in the state of São Paulo, along with seven toll booths on highways in the state of Paraná.
The MST says the invasions and occupations will continue for an indefinite period of time. It is estimated that 14,000 MST members took part in the invasions.
Members of the MST have invaded and occupied the headquarters of the Land Reform Institutes (Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária) (Incra) in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, along with seven toll booths in the state of Paraná and three properties in Rio Grande do Sul.
The MST says the invasions are part of a new MST National Struggle Movement. It is reported that the toll booths in Paraná have shut down and are not collecting tolls.
Meanwhile, the MST says it is demanding the government keep promises it says were made during negotiations in May following an MST National March to Brasília.
Among other things, the MST says the government must appropriate more money for the INCRA and the Ministry of Agrarian Development so more expropriations can be made for land reform settlements.
As for the rules of expropriation, the MST has requested a revision of the production levels used to determine when land is not considered productive, because the norms in effect date from 1975.
Finally, the MST calls for the settlement of 400,000 families between now and next year, access to credit for settled families, funding for their farming activities and basic necessity baskets.