Indigenous people in Brazil march for their land rights

BRASILIA (AP) — Thousands of indigenous people marched Thursday in Brazil's capital to demand that the government officially recognize the lands they have lived on for centuries and protect their lands from criminal activity such as illegal mining.

Carrying banners with messages such as “The future is original”, they marched towards Brasilia's Tri-Powers Square, where Congress, the Supreme Court and the Planalto presidential palace are located.

In addition to calls for recognition of their lands, some tribes have protested against a project to build a 950-kilometre (590-mile) railway to transport soybeans from the central state of Mato Grosso to the ports of the Tapajós River, an important tributary of the Amazon River. .

Kayapo, Banara and Munduruku tribal leaders said they had not been properly consulted and expressed concerns that the railway would lead to increased deforestation.

Thursday's march was the final chapter of Camp Tierra Libre, an annual event in its 20th edition. This year he expressed a critical view of the government of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Unlike the past two years, Lula was not invited to visit the camp held in Brasilia's main square.

Lula, who held the presidency between 2003 and 2010, began his third term in January last year. His government has created 10 indigenous areas, which tribal leaders consider insufficient. According to the Socio-Environmental Institute, a non-governmental organization, there are at least 251 pending claims for land recognition.

Indigenous lands make up about 13% of Brazilian territory. Most of them are found in the Amazon rainforest.


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