Students join protests against ’Marco Temporal’ law in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

On June 7th people of the Guarani-Kaiowá and Terena indigenous peoples blocked at least seven highways in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, in protest against the ’Marco Temporal’ (Time frame) law, which was passed in the National Congress of Brazil in the end of May. Protests unfolded also in front of the indigenous people encampment of Retomada Nova Iwu Vera, where activists recently faced persecution, and at the Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD), and were continuation for the protests on which we have written earlier.

The ’Marco Temporal’ law would deny indigenous people their claims to their ancestral lands if they cannot prove that they have not been consistently inhabiting it before October 5th, 1988, when the current constitution of Brazil came into effect. Indigenous people have been however multiple times expelled violently from their lands by the big landlords and corporations with the support of the State, so the consistent habitation is hard to prove. The law would mean the official legalization of the robbing of the indigenous lands.

The protesters raised slogans such as ”Advance the re-occupations! Destroy the large estates!” and demanded the law to be withdrawn. Slogans like ”No PL 490!” No more indigenous deaths” and ”Our history does not begin in 1988” were painted alongside the highway as well during the protest.

Students of the Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD) took part in the protest. The students, with activists of the Support Committee for the Struggle of Indigenous Peoples (Calpi) organized a march and a rally at the university campus, denouncing the law as an anti-people measure benefiting the big landowners, urging other students to take part in the struggle and support the indigenous peoples. At night, posters and a banner with the slogan ”Down with the Marco Temporal! Long live the re-occupations!” was put up in the lobby of the Faculty of Education. The students also took part in the blockade of highway MS-156.

The Federal Supreme Court of Brazil was supposed to give a ruling of the constitutionality of the law on the 7th of June, but this was however delayed. The law draft is currently waiting the approval of the Senate and ultimately the approval of president Lula.

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