A noisy demonstration broke out during the World Indigenous Games as native Brazilians angry streamed into the sporting arena during the 100-meter sprint.
In what has been described as the Indigenous Olympics, several hundred indigenous protesters filled the arena forcing suspension of the day’s sporting activities.
The protesters, native Brazilians in traditional dress, were outraged over a land demarcation proposal that they say would be catastrophic for Brazil’s 300 or so surviving tribes.
“When we were here at the games, they were there in Congress plotting to steal our lands,” yelled Narube Werreria from the Karaja nation, as she took to the microphone in the VIP section. “Soon, there will be no more indigenous peoples, no more forest, no more animals.”
A proposed constitutional amendment would put the demarcation of indigenous lands into the hands of Brazil’s Congress, which is largely dominated by the big agriculture lobby.
A commission in the Chamber of Deputies approved the proposal late Tuesday. It must make its way through the Senate and be signed by President Dilma Rousseff to become law.