Brazilian Landless Workers Movement invades city hall

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

PARÁ, Brazil — According to local State Road Police, about 250 members of the Brazilian Landless Workers' Movement called MST (Movimento dos Sem Terra, in Portuguese) blocked the PA-391 highway for about three hours and later invaded the City hall of Santa Bárbara do Pará, located at 50 km (31 mi) from Belém, Pará.

MST said they wanted to be received by the mayor Marise Andréa Barbosa Colares (PSDB). She was not available and the MST was received by the mayor-elect Ismael Rasp Rock (PMDB). There was not an agreement, and the MST has camped in front of the city hall. A new meeting is expected in coming days with the participation of the Incra (National Institute of Colonization and the Agrarian Reformation), a government institute.

MST demands the city hall issue a Certificate of Agreement regarding the dispossession of an area in Santa Bárbara do Pará which belongs to the Dendê do Pará S.A, a company of Pará, that according to Incra passes for dispossession process. In accordance with information passed for the cabinet of the superintendent, the document was required in September, but the city hall had not issued it.

This certificate requires the city hall to assume a series of responsibilities after installing housing in the area of the city, as well as providing education and medical assistance to those settled.

The MST is a Marxist-Maoist inspired movement of agricultural workers in Brazil. According to MST, in 2003 there were about 632 MST camps in Brazil. MST say they fight for the Agrarian Reformation in Brazil. Some Brazilians have already protested against MST tactics, saying they are against the law and they are violent. Currently, MST receives help from the Brazilian government and donations from international organizations.