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Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Landless protests continue in Brazil
Injured landless
An injured worker is supported by colleagues
Leaders of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) have vowed to continue their occupation of government buildings in Brazil.

The peasants are demanding a speeding up of land reform, more credit for poor farmers and a meeting with government representatives.

The government has said it will not bow to pressure and will not tolerate further acts of violence.

On Tuesday, at least one person died and about 100 were injured in clashes with police as the landless occupied a number of public buildings across Brazil.


Brazilian riot police
Police say they used only rubber bullets
The MST says a peasant identified as Antonio Tavarez Pereira died from a gunshot wound in the stomach.

He was allegedly shot during a violent standoff with anti-riot police near the Parana state capital, Curitiba.

Police say the troops used only rubber bullets. An official autopsy report on the victim has yet to be released.

Conflict

The clash in Curitiba was the most serious of a number of confrontations between the MST and the Brazilian authorities on Tuesday.

They started when riot police stopped about 30 buses carrying more than 1,000 peasants on the main road to Curitiba.

Police reported that 40 workers and 37 policemen were injured in the ensuing disturbance.

In other parts of Brazil, peasants blocked roads, demonstrated and took over government buildings.

In Sao Paulo, military police arrested at least 16 protesters and dispersed about 200 who were heading for the federal Internal Revenue Service building.

Demands

The MST wants a pledge from the government to find land for 100,000 families and credits to help families that have been settled.

The government says it has redistributed more land than any other administration in Brazil's history.

Land invasions by peasants are common in Brazil, and often provoke violent clashes with farmers.

According to the Pastoral Land Commission, about half of the nation's arable land is still controlled by a handful of Brazil's wealthiest families.

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | Americas
Brazilian land activist walks free
21 Aug 99 | Americas
Brazilian police trial suspended
04 May 00 | Americas
Analysis: Fight for land in Brazil
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