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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 03:17 GMT 04:17 UK
Rural killings marked in Brazil
By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Sao Paulo

A member of the Landless Workers Movement blocks a road in northeast Brazil as part of a protest to commemorate the killings
Activists have been protesting across the country
In Brazil, thousands of people have been taking part in demonstrations to mark the 10th anniversary of a notorious massacre.

Nineteen rural workers were shot dead by military police officers in April 1996 near the remote Amazon town of Eldorado dos Carajas.

The victims had been blocking a road as part of a land rights protest.

A decade on, only two officers involved have been prosecuted. Both have appealed and neither is behind bars.

On Monday, land rights activists staged demonstrations across the country to protest at what they see as a culture of impunity.

Anger

The victims of the Carajas massacre are being remembered in a series of anniversary events.

The mood at a demonstration in Sao Paulo was one of anger, because 10 years after police officers gunned down 19 rural demonstrators, no one is behind bars.

"There's no one in jail, nothing has happened," said one protestor. "So we're here to take a stand against impunity."

Of the nearly 150 police officers on duty on the day of the massacre, only two were ever prosecuted.

But late last year, they were freed by Brazil's Supreme Court, pending an appeal.

Another trial seems unlikely in a country where only a tiny proportion of land-related killings end in prosecution.

Carajas was truly shocking. But 10 years on, the rule of law in the Amazon is as shaky as ever.




SEE ALSO:
Timeline: Brazil
17 Mar 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Brazil
18 Feb 06 |  Country profiles


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