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Police torch landless workers' camp in Brazil in bid to evict residents

MILITARY police in Brazil have torched a camp of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais in a bid to evict families that have lived there for 23 years.

Riot police and helicopters surrounded the Quilombo Grande settlement as workers resisted efforts to drive them off the land.

On Thursday, a tractor was used to destroy the Eduardo Galeano Popular School and MST leader Tuira Tule described the situation as serious after a suspension order was rejected.

“We remain here, on watch. We are surrounded by the police. Today, there was a team of 150 police officers. More than 20 police cruisers arrived.

“We are here in resistance. We want to denounce the cowardice of the Zema [regional] government.

“We need the support of society, from Minas Gerais, from Brazil, from the whole world. We are standing firm and we will not leave,” Mr Tule said.

Workers at the camp, which stands on the site of a former sugar plantation, produce corn, organic coffee and other food for co-operatives and shops belonging to the MST, all of which will be destroyed if the eviction goes ahead.

Parliamentarians urged governor Romeu Zema to meet them to discuss the suspension of the repossession order.

Workers Party MP Rogerio Correia said: “The families are surrounded by riot police and helicopters in the midst of a pandemic.

“The recommendation of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Justice is that all evictions be stopped during this time.

“The children were taken out of the school where they were with adults. The situation is very serious. We ask for support.”

According to the MST, homes have been raided and police armed with rifles have been patrolling the camp and intimidating the residents.

The hashtag ZemaCovarde has been trending in support of those resisting at the camp.

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