[04/19/10] MST occupies INCRA offices in six states of Brazil

Day of action calls for government promises made in August, such as the updating of indices and the settlement of dispossessed workers The MST occupied the INCRA (Agency for Land Reform) headquarters in Brasília as well as its offices in São Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Pará, Piauí and Paraíba this Monday, on the National Day of Struggle for Land Reform. The movement has also kept up its occupation of INCRA's Pernambuco office since Saturday. The actions call for the government to house the 90 families temporarily settled with the MST and for an agro-industrial programme for the settlements (see the ruling in full at http://www.mst.org.br/node/9606). In August, the government undertook a series of agreements with the Land Reform, which have still not been fulfilled; such as the updating of the productivity indices and the promise of resources for the expropriation of certain areas. "The government is not fulfilling its agreements with the Land Reform. We have families who have been camping out for over five years, living in a pretty hard situation at the side of the road and in occupied areas. They are victims of the violence of the corporate farms and of agribusiness," says José Batista de Oliveira, an international co-ordination worker with the MST. All day, demonstrations have been carried out in 19 states and in Brasilia. The MST marched for Land Reform in Bahía, Tocantins, Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul. 60 corporate farms were occupied: in Pernambuco (25), Bahía (15), São Paolo (11), Paraíba (5), Sergipe (4), Alagoas (2), Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso do Sul (one in each state). The majority of the zones occupied were already classified as "unproductive" in INCRA surveys, but had not been expropriated and earmarked for Land Reform. The Day of Struggle also calls for the debts of the resettled families to be renegotiated, and for a line of credit suited to the particularities of the Land Reform zones. The National Programme for the Strengthening of Family Agriculture (PRONAF) does not meet the needs of the settled workers and has created a generation of arrears. Summary In Bahia, more than 5,000 landless rural workers came out on a march from Feira de Santana in order to call the attention of the government and of society to the urgent need for Land Reform. The events are planned to end on the 26th with the arrival in Salvador. More than 1,400 rural workers occupied the offices of Government House in Ceará, in Fortaleza, to demand a work management program, income for those affected by the droughts, technical help for the settled workers and the creation of a native seed bank. More than 700 MST members occupied the INCRA national headquarters in Brasília. In Pará, 600 rural workers marched on and occupied in the INCRA in Belém. In São Paolo, around 500 landless male and female workers occupied the INCRA regional offices. In Rio de Janeiro, 400 landless families occupied the INCRA regional offices in the capital. In Piauí, 400 landless workers marched 25 km, leaving from Berneval Lobão, and occupied the regional offices in Teresina. On Tuesday, a session of the Legislative Assembly on the criminalisation of social movements took place. In Paraiba, 400 landless workers occupied the regional offices in João Pessoa. In Alagoas, 1,200 farmers took action at Dom Pedro II Square, the centre of Maceió, to put the acceleration of Land Reform on the agenda for society and the authorities. In Pernambuco, more than 1,000 rural workers camped out in Recife, where the INCRA is under occupation. In Santa Catarina, 600 rural workers marched to Florianópolis on Tuesday. In Rio Grande do Sul, around 300 displaced families marched to Southall Ranch in São Gabriel, on the western border, in memory of the landless worker Elton Brum da Silva, who was killed eight months ago during the violent evictions by the Military Brigade. In Minas Gerais, the MST marched with 500 male and female workers settled by the Land Reform. The march ended in front of the IEF (State Forestry Institute) in Uberlandia, in the Minas Gerais Triangle. Press contacts: Mayrá Lima - 61- 9684-6534 Igor Felippe – 11-3361-3866/9690-3614