Brazil’s indigenous peoples lead global “Red January" protests
Protests against the anti-indigenous policies of Brazil’s President Bolsonaro are occurring in Brazil and around the world to mark his first month in power.
Demonstrators held placards declaring “Stop Brazil’s genocide now!” and “Bolsonaro: protect indigenous land.”
The protests have been led by APIB, the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, as the culmination of their “Indigenous blood – not a single drop more” campaign, known as “Red January.”
Before he was elected president, Mr Bolsonaro was notorious for his racist views. Among his first acts on assuming power was to remove responsibility for indigenous land demarcation from Brazil’s Indigenous Affairs Department FUNAI, and hand it to the notoriously anti-Indian Agriculture Ministry, which Survival labelled “virtually a declaration of war against Brazil’s tribal peoples.”
President Bolsonaro also moved FUNAI to a new ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights headed by an evangelical preacher, a move designed to drastically weaken FUNAI.
Emboldened by the new President and his long history of anti-indigenous rhetoric, attacks by ranchers and gunmen against Indian communities have risen dramatically.
The territory of the Uru Eu Wau Wau Indians, for example, has been invaded, endangering uncontacted tribespeople there; and hundreds of loggers and colonists are planning to occupy the land of the Awá, one of Earth’s most threatened tribes.
But Brazil’s indigenous people have reacted with defiance. “We’ve been resisting for 519 years. We won’t stop now. We’ll put all our strength together and we’ll win,” said Rosilene Guajajara. And Ninawa Huni Kuin said: “We fight to protect life and land. We will defend our nation.”
APIB said: “We have the right to exist. We won’t retreat. We’ll denounce this government around the world.”
Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today: “Having suffered 500 years of genocide and massacres, Brazil’s tribal peoples are not going to be cowed by President Bolsonaro, however abhorrent and outdated his views are. And it’s been inspiring to see how many people around the world are standing with them.”
Note to Editors
Actions are taking place across Brazil and in Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Paris, San Francisco, Washington, Zurich and other cities.
Photos will be uploaded here throughout the day.