Brazil: The People’s Court against land grabbing and land-based crimes held in Junco do Maranhão

Hereby we publish an unofficial translation of an article published in A Nova Democracia (AND).

On the 9th and 10th of March, the victorious People’s Court against land grabbing and land-based crimes was held in the village of Vilela, in Junco do Maranhão. The event was attended by people’s lawyers, researchers, trade unionists and State journalists from other regions of the country who participated in the Court’s judging committee.

The court also had the participation of different organizations, such as the União das Comunidades em Luta and the Coletivo Estudantil Filhos do Povo, which organized students to participate in the event. Peasant leader Luiz Vila Nova also participated in the event.

Throughout the auditorium, flags of organizations and banners with slogans of the struggle for land decorated the environment. Right on the access road, a banner “Out with the land grabbers! For the titling of our possessions!” set the tone for the event. Inside the auditorium, other banners condemned land grabbing, large-scale mining and called for peasant unity. The signatures were from squatters from different communities, such as Gleba Campina, Povoado Vilela, the Caranandeua and Jaraquara Communities and the Farmers Association of the Povoado de Maracacuera, in the municipality of Carutapera.

In one of the event’s activities, the peasants organized a motorbike caravan to visit Gleba Campina and investigate the crimes committed by land grabbers there.

As directed by the Popular Court, the organizations present called for a day of mobilization and struggle against the Land Grabbing Law of the State of Maranhão for May 1st. The note can be read in full here.

In a joint note, the Solidarity Comitê de Solidariedade à Luta pela Terra (COMSOLUTE) and the União das Comunidades em Luta (UCL) writes: “This is a victorious event in every sense: in establishing and unifying a political agenda to defend human rights of the people; in producing legal material to support the communities’ cause; in stirring those present around solidarity with the struggle for land”.

The note also gives a warm greeting to the Coletivo Estudantil Filhos do Povo, which prepared a bus full of students. According to those present, the Popular Court was a milestone in the development of the new student movement in Maranhão.

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