Thousands of tribal women decorated with feathers and body paint marched on Brazil’s capital Tuesday denouncing the “genocidal policies” of President Jair Bolsonaro, who faces growing criticism over destruction of the Amazon.
Far-right Bolsonaro wants to develop the rainforest — seen as vital to combatting climate change — by allowing more mining and farming in the region.
The latest official figures show a sharp increase in deforestation in recent months compared with a year earlier. Activists blame the rise on Bolsonaro’s anti-environment rhetoric.
But Bolsonaro has dismissed the data as lies and sacked the head of the government agency tasked with tracking tree clearing.
Carrying bows, arrows and spears, the indigenous women advanced on Congress in Brasilia carrying a large banner that said “Resist to exist” as they demanded greater protection of their land.
“Bolsonaro wants to wipe out our lands, our ethnicities,” Potira Guajajara, a 22-year-old student from the northeastern state of Maranhao, told AFP.
“There have been many invasions of our lands by hunters and gold miners.”
Brazil’s government has demarcated hundreds of territories since the 1980s for the exclusive use of its 800,000 indigenous inhabitants. Access by outsiders is strictly regulated.
Bolsonaro opposes demarcating more land, claiming indigenous people already live “like a zoo animal.”
Elected last year with support from the powerful agriculture lobby, Bolsonaro has pledged to combat illegal deforestation.
While the government admits clearing has increased, it insists it is not as great as indicated by the National Institute for Space Research.
Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China
Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.
Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.
Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs
President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.
At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.
But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.
"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.
Persecuted Christians eye long-sought freedom in Sudan
Sudan's Christians suffered decades of persecution under the regime of Islamist general Omar al-Bashir. Now they hope his downfall will give the religious freedom they have long prayed for.
Deep within the maze of dusty alleys that honeycomb Omdurman, Khartoum's sprawling twin city, Yousef Zamgila's church is not visible from the street.
It is hidden in the courtyard of a friend's home and consists of a few iron benches, a pulpit and crosses hastily painted on pillars holding a corrugated roof.
"The previous centre got destroyed because we didn't have the right papers. They always refused... So we use the land of our neighbours," says the Lutheran reverend.