Indians and Squatters Block Federal Highway in Brazil

The Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR), a state in the North of Brazil, reported that about 200 indigenous people and squatters blocked the BR-174 highway in the state of Roraima from the morning until 6 p.m. of April 19 to protest against the non-removal of non-indigenous occupants from the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous land.

The federal highway connects Boa Vista to the city of Santa Elena de Uairén in Venezuela.

The protests were related to a one-year deadline for non-indigenous occupants to leave the Raposa Serra do Sol land, which expired on April 15, one year after the official confirmation of the bounds of the land, and was not complied with.

The delay is related to political pressures against the demarcation of the indigenous land, but the federal administration, particularly through the National Land Reform Institute (Incra), said that the non-indigenous occupants are being removed and that they will begin to be resettled and compensated.

Information was disseminated that about of 97% of the non-indigenous families are being registered by Incra and Funai for this purpose.

The BR-174 highway was blocked at about 160 kilometers from the capital of the state of Roraima, Boa Vista, by indigenous people, small squatters, rice growers and authorities from the municipality of Pacaraima.

A CIR team which visited the location at about 5 p.m. reported that the protest had begun in the morning with trucks, tractors and buses. According to the team, the line of cars was over 10-kilometer long.

Cimi – Indianist Missionary Council – www.cimi.org.br

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