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Worldwide Protests for Brazil's Indigenous Guarani-Kaiowá

This post is part of our special coverage Indigenous Rights.

They are threatened with expulsion from their land, their waters have been poisoned by farmers, and they are ready to resist till their death. Given these gruelling circumstances, the Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous community of Pyelito Kue / Mbarakay, in the municipality of Iguatemi, Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), have found on social media and on the streets support, what they did not receive from the government and only timidly from the FUNAI (National Indiginous Foundation).

The Guarani-Kaiowá represents one of the largest indigenous communities in Brazil (46,000 out of aproximately 734,000), but in the last decades they have been the target of constant attacks as the ancestral lands they inhabit in MS have become the most profitable in the country for the rapidly growing agri-business and biofuels industry. Under yet another threat of eviction, in early October 2012 the Pyelito Kue / Mbarakay community released an open letter, which lead to a massive response. By the end of the month, on October 30, the Federal Regional Court of the 3rd region, in São Paulo, suspended the order of eviction of the Guaraní-Kaiowá from their encampment. The decision should stand until the identification and demarcation of the final indigenous territory by FUNAI.

For over a week, from October 26 to November 9, 2012 activists from around the country mobilized in the streets to demonstrate in defense of the Guarani-Kaiowá against their expulsion and the abandonment of indigenous communities by the government. In social networks, activists from around the world adopted the name “Guarani-Kaiowá” as a surname on their Facebook profiles.

Call for demonstrations across the country circulated on Facebook

Call for demonstrations across the country circulated on Facebook

About the protest in Sao Paulo, Ana Paula de Souza and Deborah Camargo wrote [pt] for the blog Vírus Planetário (Planetarium Virus):

Danças indígenas, e gritos como “Somos todos Guarani- kaiowá”, “Matam um, matam mil estão matando todos os índios do Brasil” além de trechos da música “Pais e filhos”, de Renato Russo, ecoaram durante todo o percurso do protesto e chamou a atenção de diversas pessoas que andavam pelas ruas de São Paulo.  O silêncio também se fez presente em respeito aos índios que foram mortos em confrontos pela disputa de terra no Mato Grosso do Sul.  Na ocasião, muitas pessoas que não faziam parte do protesto se sensibilizaram com a reivindicação dos manifestantes e entraram no movimento que ocupou cerca de três quarteirões das ruas de SP. Com o crescente número de massa humana aderindo ao movimento, as autoridades locais já não sabiam mais qual o número exato de pessoas que faziam parte da passeata.

Indigenous dances, and shouts like “We are all Guarani-Kaiowa”, “they kill one, they kill thousand: they are killing all the Indians of Brazil” along with excerpts of the song “Pais e Filhos” (Parents and Children) by Renato Russo [singer from the famous Brazilian rock band of the 80's, Legião Urbana], echoed throughout the route of the protest and drew the attention of several people who walked the streets of São Paulo [SP]. Silence was also made present in respect to the Indians who were killed in clashes over the land dispute in Mato Grosso do Sul. At the time, many people who were not part of the protest were sensitized with the claim of the protesters and joined the movement which occupied about three blocks of the streets of SP. With the growing number of human mass adhering to the movement, local authorities no longer knew anymore what was the exact number of people who were part of the march.

Sandra Benedetti posted, on Youtube, a video of the protest in São Paulo:

Alexandre Guarani-Kaiowá posted a series of photos on his Facebook album:

Demonstration in São Paulo. Photo by Alexandre Guarani-Kaiowá, used with permission.

Demonstration in São Paulo. Photo by Alexandre Guarani-Kaiowá, used with permission.

Demonstration in São Paulo. Photo by Alexandre Guarani-Kaiowá, used with permission.

Demonstration in São Paulo. Photo by Alexandre Guarani-Kaiowá, used with permission.

Journalist Alex Haubrich posted a series of photos on his Facebook profile of the demonstration in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul:

Demonstration in Porto Alegre. Phto by Alex Haubrich, used with permission.

Demonstration in Porto Alegre. Phto by Alex Haubrich, used with permission.

Demonstration in Porto Alegre. Phto by Alex Haubrich, used with permission.

Demonstration in Porto Alegre. Phto by Alex Haubrich, used with permission.

Also in Porto Alegre, Youtube user Carol Nugem posted [pt] a video with the speech of Chief Vherá Poty against the Guarani-Kaiowá genocide:

The blog of the International Committee of Solidarity with the Guarani-Kaiowá posted a series of videos of the protests in Dourados, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Youtube user Agnaldo Mattos posted a video of the demonstration in Salvador, Bahia:

Rossanna Pinheiros posted, on Youtube, a video of the protest in Rio de Janeiro:

And she also posted a series of photos of the demonstration in Rio de Janeiro:

Demonstration in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Rossanna Pinheiro. Photo used with permission.

Demonstration in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Rossanna Pinheiro. Photo used with permission.

Demonstration in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Rossanna Pinheiro. Photo used with permission.

Demonstration in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Rossanna Pinheiro. Photo used with permission.

Demonstrations also took place in many other cities throughout Brazil, such as João Pessoa, Feira de Santana, Osasco, Sorocaba, and more.

On Vimeo, Robson posted a video of the demonstration in Brasília:

There were even protests outside Brazil, as in front of the UN Headquarters in New York:

Protest in front of the United Nations, New York. Photo by Leandro Viana, Masayuki Azuma and Sebastian Loaysa, used with permission

Protest in front of the United Nations, New York. Photo by Leandro Viana, Masayuki Azuma and Sebastian Loaysa, used with permission

Protest in front of the United Nations, New York. Photo by Leandro Viana, Masayuki Azuma and Sebastian Loaysa, used with permission

Protest in front of the United Nations, New York. Photo by Leandro Viana, Masayuki Azuma and Sebastian Loaysa, used with permission

Protests also occurred in Porto (Portugal) and Hamburg (Germany). A complete list of events which occurred in Brazil and their respective Facebook groups can be found here.

This post is part of our special coverage Indigenous Rights.

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