April 26 (UPI) — Brazilian indigenous groups in the capital city of Brasilia protested and briefly clashed with police in opposition to a government proposal they say would further deteriorate their land rights.
A proposed constitutional amendment would transfer the federal power over the demarcation of indigenous lands from the executive branch of government to the legislative branch. The indigenous groups say the proposal threatens their land rights because it would allow logging companies and farmers to encroach on their land.
Brasilia’s military police clashed with protesters outside of Brazil’s national Congress building after the indigenous groups wanted to put fake coffins on the property of the Congress building. Police said about 2,000 indigenous people participated in the protest, Jornal O Globo reported. Police arrested four indigenous people.
The clashes started after police began to block the protesters’ advance. Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray to keep out the advancing protesters, who responded by shooting arrows at police with arrows.
The protesters also argue politicians need to give back land they say belong to the indigenous community.
“They’re only our friends in politics, when they want votes. Other than that, they are at war against us,” one of indigenous group’s leaders said.