170 indigenous people from the Xingu river region again occupy Belo Monte dam construction site – Forceful eviction authorized by local judgePosted by Jim at Sunday, June 02, 2013
[Petition: Peace and Respect in the Amazon]
By Gabriel Elizondo
30 May 2013
Sao Paulo, Brazil (Al Jazeera) – It’s another standoff in the Amazon, and it could get very ugly very fast.
On Monday, 170 indigenous people armed with bows and arrows from the Xingu river region again occupied a work site at the controversial Belo Monte dam construction site, grinding to a halt work on one of the world’s largest construction projects.
Dump trucks and bulldozers sit idle.
The indigenous say they were not properly consulted on the building of the dam, and promises by the government to help their tribes minimize harmful side effects of the construction have fallen flat.
A local judge quickly issued a ruling on Tuesday compelling the police to forcefully evict the indigenous from the work site.
Dozens of police are standing by at this hour ready to execute the judge’s order.
On Wednesday the indigenous people issued a powerful statement saying they would not leave, and are prepared to die in the face of the police pressure unless they receive a personal meeting to voice their concerns with one of President Dilma Rousseff’s top ministers, something Brasilia has been reluctant to do so far.
With tensions escalating, the regional federal public prosecutors office appealed for calm and a delay in any police action, but that office has no power to stop it.
The real fear is that heavily armed police storming head first into over a hundred indigenous people could result in blood being spilled.
It could happen at any moment, as events are moving fast at the location, just north of the Amazon city of Altamira.
This isn’t the first time: Almost exactly a year ago 150 indigenous from eight tribes occupied the work site for over two weeks. They eventually backed down after delicate talks with the government and promises to meet some of the Indians demands.
It ended peacefully that time, but this go around the indigenous seem more determined than ever in their resistance. [more]