By Ben Robinson
On July 15, the National Front of Struggle (Frente Nacional de Luta) and the League of Poor Peasants (LCP, Liga dos Camponeses Pobres) organized a protest in the state of Minas Gerais, which included blocking a major highway with a flaming barricade. The peasant demonstration raised slogans against the genocidal government of fascist President Jair Bolsonaro, which has caused the death of half a million Brazilians during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as promoting the struggle for land and demanding freedom for the four arrested peasants from Camp Manoel Ribeiro.
The protest fits within a larger pattern of demonstrations across Brazil in response to high unemployment, increases in cost of living, and the state’s genocidal handling of the pandemic.
Raising red flags, protesters blocked the highway for two hours with burning barricades, successfully fighting off police until they ended the protest on their own terms. One plainclothes officer drew a gun and attempted to drive his car past the barricades but was forced back with flag masts as demonstrators threatened to burn the car with gasoline.
Demonstrators raised the demand for the release of four young peasants from Camp Manoel Ribeiro, who were arrested on fabricated charges and were recently denied release on June 29. Their imprisonment is part of a larger campaign by the State against the LCP and the peasant movement, as they fight for land against the big landlords, who hold a monopoly over agricultural land while leaving much of it fallow as poor peasants across the countryside struggle to survive.
The protest emphasized worker-peasant solidarity, raising slogans including “Long live the worker-peasant alliance!” Protesters also demanded widespread, free distribution of the COVID vaccine, and showed support for Palestine while burning US and Israeli flags. Demonstrators carried banners which read, “Down with the genocidal military government of Bolsonaro!” and “National Front, The fight is general, land, work, housing, and freedom!”
The protest ended with high morale as peasants continue the fight for land in the agrarian revolution, which aims to liberate the peasant masses in Brazil from semi-feudalism and the miserable poverty that accompanies it.
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