"MY CRIME IS TO STRUGGLE!" - The Criminalization of the MST
Since the congressional coup brought a right wing government to power in Brazil, the MST has been under attack. The Friends of the MST brings you a series of articles on the ongoing criminalization of the MST and other social movements in Brazil. We begin with the MST's Statement:
The MST denounces the "escalation of repression against the struggle for land, where the interests of agribusiness associated with violence of the State of Exception prevail" after action by the PR Civil Police on November 4, 2016. Read more.
Background: With the arrest of two MST militants shortly after the coup and continuing with the police invasion of the MST's national school (ENFF) in November, the Brazilian government signaled its intent to criminalize the movement.
The criminalization of the MST: The coup government has attempted to treat the MST and agrarian reform as a criminal conspiracy. Brazilian attorney Aline Piva provides analysis of the criminalization effort. Additionally, the Brazilian Supreme Court has rejected treating the MST as a criminal organization. Even after the Supreme Court ruling, the coup government pursues criminalization of the MST. The criminalization efforts have also reached the level of high school students, when police action and violence was used against student protests and sit-ins against the proposed austerity law (PEC 55).
Resistance to criminalization: Resistance to the criminalization efforts has been strong. Immediately, after the raid on ENFF, over a 1,000 people gathered in support of the school. La Via Campesina and other organizations have denounced the persecution of the MST and social movements in Brazil. Dilma Rousseff, the president ousted by the congressional coup, denounced the attacks on the MST. The coup government's actions have also spurred reaction within the government itself, as a debate in the federal Commission on Human Rights illustrates.