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Last Updated:  Monday, 10 March, 2003, 13:12 GMT
Lula faces mass land seizures
By Tom Gibb
BBC News in Sao Paulo

New Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, is likely to face a wave of land seizures and protests in the coming months.

Lula da Silva
Lula has promised mass reform in Brazil
The protests are from the radical Landless Movement, a group hoping for mass land ownership reform in the country.

The group last week called off a two-month truce with the government, saying it needed to apply pressure to speed up the reform process.

They have already taken over farms in five different states since the end of the truce.

But its leaders have said they are planning far more land seizures in April, as well as to hold marches and occupy government buildings.

Presidential constraints

The split with Lula is ironic but predictable.

Lula's Workers' Party has always been a strong supporter of the Landless Movement's demands, with Brazil having one of the most unequal land distributions in the world.

But now in government, Lula has found himself severely constrained by a lack of resources.

In January the government announced that it would expropriate 200,000 hectares of unproductive land for redistribution.

But the Landless Movement have said that this was only a tiny amount of the reform needed.

Meanwhile, government ministers have called on the Landless Movement to hold a dialogue with them and respect the limits of democracy.

In his election campaign, Lula put himself forward as the only candidate who could control the Landless Movement through negotiation.

Brazil peasants end land truce
07 Mar 03 |  Americas
Lula makes plea for reform
18 Feb 03 |  Business
Brazilian landless strike back
26 Mar 02 |  Americas

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