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  • The Guarani people during the occupation of Jaragua Park in Sao Paulo.

    The Guarani people during the occupation of Jaragua Park in Sao Paulo. | Photo: EFE

Published 16 September 2017

Activists disconnected transmission towers as part of a protest demanding that their lands be returned.

A group of Indigenous Guarani activists have occupied Jaragua National Park and switched off transmission towers in Sao Paulo to protest against the privatization of state-protected nature reserves by the government of President Michel Temer.

Indigenous Brazilians Resist Mass Land Expulsion  

"The main consequence will be the reduction of our lands and our culture. It will end vegetation and will grow real estate speculation," Guarani leader of the Jaragua reserve Thiago Enrique said, according to Brasil de Fato.

"It is on that road that they go, but we will resist as long as there is air," Enrique added.

The community is also protesting against the reduction of lands in Jaragua that were assigned to them in 2015 in order to prevent the government from selling it to multinationals, according to the leader.

The Jaragua reserve, which is located 12 miles from the city of Sao Paulo, was shrunken from 1,314 acres in 2015 to seven acres in 2017, when Temer's governent passed a decree that reduced its size. 

A few weeks ago, the government accepted that there were "administrative errors" in the land process.

"For them (the government), the demarcation of our traditional lands hampers their goal of destroying vegetation to make money," the Guarani community said in a statement.

The protest, which began on Wednesday, witnessed Indigenous activists switching off the transmission tower located on top of Peak Jaragua, the highest point in Sao Paulo, which is used for cell phone services, army services and the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Train Company.

The site is home to 700 Indigenous people living in five villages that have claimed the ownership of the lands based on ancestral rights for the past three centuries.

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