By Nélida Tello
Thousands of poor Brazilian peasants who live and work in Camp Tiago dos Santos and Camp Ademar Ferreira, located in the western Amazon region, are resisting police preparations for a massacre. On October 2, peasants from the two camps held a popular assembly to denounce the reactionary Brazilian police and declare their readiness to fight for their land.
On September 28, the Ministry of Justice issued an eviction order against Camp Tiago dos Santos. The Military Police and the National Public Security Force have surrounded and invaded the camps as they prepare to massacre the peasants. Peasants have been beaten, threatened, and tortured by the reactionary armed forces.
The eviction order against Camp Tiago dos Santos comes two months after the reactionary police murdered four peasants and injured dozens at Camp Ademar Ferreira. The families from both camps have fought back against the police repression and so far have successfully prevented a massacre from happening.
A peasant from the region told revolutionary Brazilian newspaper A Nova Democracia, “The police are all hooded, no one sees their faces, they [come] here with the desire to execute the people here. [The peasants] set off fires, and they [the police] retreat.”
Camp Tiago dos Santos is in Nova Mutum Paraná, Rondônia, and is part of a 57,000 hectare estate. Antônio Martins (known as “Old Rooster”) illegally owns the estate and has seized 80,000 hectares of land in the region of Porto Velho, Rondônia.
Judge Ilisir Bueno Rodrigues ruled in favor of Martins and authorized police reinforcements to carry out the eviction. The Military Police are now stationed on Martins’s property and have taken up the role of his personal gunmen.
In March 2020, Camp Tiago dos Santos was occupied by peasants organized with the League of Poor Peasants (LCP, Liga dos Camponeses Pobres). The LCP divided and distributed the land among the 600 peasants families who took part in the occupation. Since then, the peasants have been living and working the once idle land and have transformed it into productive plots.
Later in the year, Marcos Rocha, Governor of Rondônia and a former colonel of the Military Police, ordered the eviction of Camp Tiago dos Santos. Police activity in the region indicates that police will attempt to finish what they started last year; to evict the camp and massacre the peasants. During last year’s attempted eviction, peasants were killed, tortured, and imprisoned. The police also prohibited food and milk from entering the camp. The peasants retreated and then reoccupied the land within days, their combative resistance preventing a massacre by the Military Police.
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