A school run by Brazil’s Landless Workers' Movement, or MST, was raided Friday by police officers who wanted to arrest eight members of the social movement, reportedly without an arrest warrant.
The MST said the officers arrived in 10 vehicles and broke into the school in Sao Paulo shooting live bullets and threatening people, in the latest episode of the violent crackdown against social movements led by the government of Senate-imposed President Michel Temer, who came to power through a parliamentary coup.
“The MST repudiates the actions of São Paulo police and demands the government to take appropriate action in this process. We are a movement fighting for the democratization of access to land in the country, not a criminal organization,” the social movement said in a public statement.
The Florestan Fernandes National School is seen as a milestone in the achievements of the MST and brings together in one single space training courses for the group and other citizens linked to rural social struggles.
The new justice minister, Alexandre de Moraes, is well-known to social movements in the state of Sao Paulo. He previously served as secretary of security for the right-wing government of the state and in that capacity oversaw several brutal crackdowns on social protests.
Under the government of Temer, who helped lead the push to depose President Dilma Rousseff, at least nine members of the MST have been arrested across the country. The group is taking legal action to secure the release of these political prisoners.