Brasilia, Apr 11 (EFE).- More than 6,000 indigenous people marched in Brasilia on Monday to protest against the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration and demand the end of illegal mining in the Amazonian reserves.
The march progressed peacefully along the esplanade next to government ministries until they reached the mines and energy ministry, outside which they dumped mud and red paint representing the destruction and death caused by illegal mining.
Brazilian flags were also smeared with red ink as were large boxes symbolic of ingots of gold — one of the most sought-after minerals in the largest tropical rainforest on the planet — on which protesters stamped the word “crime.”
The “march against ‘garimpo’ (illegal mining) that kills and deforests” sought to pressure the government to prevent the approval of a bill that seeks to legalize illegal mining in indigenous reserves, the majority of them located in the Brazilian Amazon.
“The garimpo reaches the reserves, causing a series of violence and violations of the rights of indigenous peoples. This practice causes enormous social disorganization that threatens the physical and cultural survival of these peoples,” said Danicley de Aguiar, spokesperson for the Amazon campaign by Greenpeace, one of the nonprofits that supported the march.
Since last week, more than 172 Brazilian ethnic groups have gathered at the Free Land Camp 2022, which will be installed in Brasilia until Apr. 14, according to the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, an organization that defends indigenous rights in the country.
This is the largest gathering in the country and takes place at a time when the National Congress is due to vote on bills pertaining to the approval of illegal mining and the demarcation of indigenous territories, another issue that the natives are protesting against.
Illegal mining and illegal logging are the main causes of deforestation in the Amazon and have increased during Bolsonaro’s term.
Environmentalists attribute this to the easing of control measures during the mandate of the far-right leader, who defends the economic exploitation of the Amazon and the end of the demarcation of new indigenous lands.
Official data indicates that in 2021, the world’s biggest tropical rainforest lost 13,235 square kilometers of vegetation, the worst degradation over a 12-month period in the last 15 years. EFE