Photo: Screenshot of video showing thousands of Brazilian Military Police readying operations to attack peasants
By Nélida Tello
On Saturday, Marcos Rocha, the reactionary governor of the state of Rondônia in Brazil, deployed more than 3,000 military police soldiers to the Nova-Mutum Paraná district in the city of Porto Velho in preparation to massacre the peasants occupying the land at Camp Tiago dos Santos. On October 2, the 600 peasant families living in the Camp held a popular assembly and declared their readiness to defend their land.
Brazilian people’s newspaper A Nova Democracia (AND) shared video on Saturday from a peasant woman in Nova-Mutum Paraná who documented thousands of Military Police, National Security Force, and Federal Police agents, dozens of police vehicles, and two helicopters arrive in the region over the weekend. AND described it as “It is a gigantic war apparatus that the repressive forces of the old State are moving in the proximity of Camp Tiago dos Santos.”
The peasant families have suffered heavy attacks from the police. Last year, the police laid siege the Camp preventing food and necessities from entering. The peasant strategically retreated, and five days later they reoccupied the land frustrating the plans to evict the Camp.
Camp Tiago dos Santos is just one of several peasant encampments in the Brazilian countryside where poor landless peasants, under the leadership of the Poor Peasants League (LCP, Liga dos Camponeses Pobres), have seized land and turned idle land into productive farming communities. This land is usually held illegally by large landlords who have no interest in producing to meet the needs of the Brazilian people and control large amounts of land, often through dubious means, displacing poor peasants who rely on the land for their livelihood.
Camp Tiago dos Santos is part of a 57,000-hectare estate, illegally owned by Antônio Martins (known as “Old Rooster”) one of the largest landowners in Brazil. The Camp is home to 600 peasant families who have been fighting for this land since 2016.
Earlier this year, a gunman at the service of Martins murdered a peasant in Camp Tiago dos Santos. In July, the National Public Security Force, the Military Police, and a gunman invaded, harassed, and attacked the Camp. On August 13, the military police murdered three peasants in Camp Ademar Ferreira, also located in Nova-Mutum Paraná. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Justice issued an eviction order against Camp Tiago dos Santos and authorized police reinforcements. These attacks against the peasants of Camp Tiago dos Santos have laid the groundwork for police to massacre peasants in the Camp.
The organized peasant resistance has so far successfully frustrated the enemy’s plan to massacre peasants. The peasants of Camp Tiago dos Santos will continue to defend their land as declared in their popular assembly.
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