[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 13:38 GMT
Brazil land invasion 'terrorism'
Squatters on vacant lots of land in Sao Paulo
The MST says President Lula has failed to live up to his promises
A congressional inquiry in Brazil has called for land invasions to be declared acts of terrorism.

The inquiry into rural violence also urged the prosecution of leaders of the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST).

A full session of the Brazilian congress will consider whether to reclassify the invasions.

The MST and allies have occupied farms and ranches to pressure the government to speed the settlement of hundreds of thousands of landless peasants.

Correspondents say land distribution in Brazil is among the most uneven in the world, with the poorest 40% of the population owning just 1% of the land.


Lawmakers from the ruling Workers' Party began the congressional inquiry last year in a bid to curb rural violence that, they say, has killed more than 1,300 people in the last 20 years.

The invasions have often lead to clashes with landowners.

The inquiry split between legislators loyal to the rural landowners and those allied to land reform movements such as the MST.

A committee member from the Workers' Party, Ana Julia Carepa, ripped up the report, saying she would not be an accomplice of murderers.

"The MST terrorises Brazilian citizens by invading property bought legally, their actions are unacceptable under our constitution," report sponsor Abelardo Lupion said.

Correspondents say the congressional inquiry can be seen as a defeat for Brazil's land reform movement, and landless leaders could withdraw their support for the president's re-election bid in 2006.

The MST has accused President Lula of failing to live up to its election promises to find homes for 400,000 families by 2006.

But the government says it has already settled a little over a quarter of its target.

Brazil landless visit president
18 May 05 |  Americas
In pictures: A landless life
16 May 05 |  Americas
Landless Brazilians occupy farms
06 Apr 05 |  Americas
Modest gain in Brazil land reform
20 Jan 05 |  Americas
Brazil's land wars hit new height
17 Apr 04 |  Americas

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific