arquivos dos protestos globais
archives of global protests

Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2000
more violence against the MST in Brasil


On Friday morning, February 25, 2000, military police in Paraná state raided three squatter settlements in the northeastern part of the state, forcibly evicting 250 families. The most violent of the three evictions occurred at the Figueira fazenda, or ranch, in Guairaça, near Querência do Norte, the site of numerous violent evictions last year. There, approximately 1,000 military police officers evicted 140 families, including 228 children. Two activists from the Global Justice Center accompanied the eviction at the Figueira fazenda along with the attorney of record for the landless in the land dispute pending in state court. Police prohibited all three, as well as a priest from the community and others sympathetic to the struggle of the squatters present, from entering a road five miles from the site of the conflict. The group, along with reporters, however, managed to follow police vehicles carrying numerous squatters to the police district in Paranavaí, a nearby town roughly fifty miles away. There, Global Justice was able to document the abuses committed by the police during the operation.

The police took thirty-one landless men into custody, charged them with criminal offenses and held them for twelve hours. More than half of these men arrived at the station bloodied and bruised. Many of them had been shot with rubber bullets by police. Nonetheless, during the entire time that we accompanied their arrest and processing - more than twelve hours - the men received no medical treatment. Among those injured who received no medical treatment was seventy-eight year-old Paulo Triches. In all, the police injured twenty-six men, two women and seven children. The injuries to the children included intoxication from the tear gas bombs launched by police and bullet wounds. Police shot four year old A.C. in the right arm; Five year old M.I.G. was shot in the arm. Conveniently, prior to allowing reporters access to the children, authorities wash blood from their wounds and applied gauze dressing to minimize the negative impact from their grossly abusive conduct.

The eviction operation is one of dozens that the police in Paraná have carried out in the past few years. Rather than negotiate land disputes with rural squatters, the Paraná state government has intensified its use of violent evictions. These evictions are often based on dubious land title as well as judicial orders obtained from corrupt judges. The eviction policy in Paraná contrasts with that in many other states in which authorities at least attempt to resolve land conflicts through dialogue. In 1999, police in Paraná state undertook thirty-five such eviction actions, arresting 173 rural laborers and provoking injury to more than fifty. Twenty rural laborers received death threats; two were killed by thugs hired by large landowners; two other murder attempts failed. In the majority of the eviction actions in 1999, police arrived in the middle of the night - despite clear provisions of Brazilian law requiring that all land eviction actions be effectuated during daylight. In one case, police tortured six laborers, forcing them, among other humiliations, to ingest animal manure. In the first two months of this year, the government has already arrested 102 laborers in twelve eviction actions, forcing 820 squatter families from their homes and injuring forty-six.

Global Justice seeks your support to help stop the violent eviction of poor, landless squatter families in rural Paraná. We are concerned that future evictions will continue to result in injuries and even death; international pressure can help focus attention on these abuses and force authorities to negotiate with squatters.

Please write requesting an end to violent evictions to:

-- Governor Jaime Lerner:
fax: 001-55-41-2530826
-- Minister of Justice, Mr. Jose Carlos Dias:
fax: 011-55-61-3211565
-- President Fernando Henrique Cardoso:
fax: 011-55-61-3222314

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