Nationwide protests led by Brazil's landless worker movement, known as the MST, to mark the country's Agrarian Reform Day Monday are set to continue for days to ramp up political pressure on the unpopular and unelected government.
The day of mass mobilization recalled the 21-year anniversary of the Carajas Massacre and criticized unelected President Michel Temer one year after his predecessor Dilma Rousseff was suspended in an impeachment process that ultimately ousted her in what has been slammed as a parliamentary coup.
MST members occupied farms owned by Cutrale, Guassahy and Milano in the state of Sao Paulo as well as blocked the BR-040 and BR-116 highways in the state of Minas Gerais. The head offices of the Ministry of Finance and INCRA were occupied in several states as protesters demanded an end to the demarcation of large plots of land for private use.
Meanwhile, in the state of Parana roughly 800 MST members delivered a list of demands to INCRA’s state superintendent.
In a public statement, the MST emphasized that the Temer administration has produced, “a new upbeat rhythm in its offensive over our lands,” which “alters, in the silence of the night, political procedures aimed at agrarian reform.”
Unsatisfied with a single day to express their disapproval over policy proposals benefiting large landowners and the surge of extreme far-right politicians, the MST has vowed to extend their Agrarian Reform Day protests until Thursday to help bring awareness to what is going on in the Brazilian countryside and throughout the nation.
Amid Temer’s plan to gut current social security regulations, the MST also aims to defend the rights of the working class and the benefits they’re due after lifelong contributions to the nation.
The launch of the four-day demonstrations Monday also coincided with the International Day of Campesino Struggle. The day, spearheaded by the international organization La Via Campesina, known as the world’s largest social movement, celebrates the resistance of millions of small-scale farmers around the world and raise awareness about the ongoing violence and repression they often suffer for defending their land.
The MST is an iconic example and pioneer of the new age of campesino movements that fights not only for land access, but also for education, health, gender equality, environmental justice, and food sovereignty.