Thousands of Indigenous people have marched in Brazil’s capital to press Congress not to pass legislation proposed by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s government that would open their protected lands to commercial mining and agriculture.
According to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), some 6,000 people from 176 different groups marched on Wednesday towards the National Congress in Brasilia as part of a 10-day annual protest demanding the protection of Indigenous land and rights.
Chanting and holding signs criticising Bolsonaro, participants called for more Indigenous representation in the parliament, where there are currently no Indigenous elected officials.
Indigenous leaders and their supporters say the government has failed to control illegal mining and deforestation on Indigenous reserves.
They claim that the lack of control increases deforestation in the vast rainforest, leading to increased violent clashes between land invaders and local tribal groups.
Bolsonaro has said Indigenous people have too much land, holding up the development of the country, and pledged not to recognise an inch more of reservation lands. Environmentalists say the reservations save the rainforest from destruction.