Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to open up the Amazon to mining companies was tantamount to “genocide”, indigenous leaders said Friday at a meeting to oppose the government’s environmental policies.
Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which have seen deforestation in the jungle nearly double since the Brazilian leader came to power a year ago.
“Our aim was to join forces and denounce the fact that the Brazilian government’s political policy of genocide, ethnocide and ecocide is under way,” the group said in a draft manifesto drawn up at the end of the summit.
“We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” the text said.
They also said that “government threats and hate speech” had encouraged violence against Amazon communities and demanded punishment for the murder of indigenous leaders.
At least eight indigenous leaders were killed last year.
Brazil’s leading indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire, said Thursday he would personally travel to the capital Brasilia to present the meeting’s demands to Congress.
“Over there, I’m going to ask Bolsonaro why he speaks so badly about the indigenous peoples,” said the 89-year-old leader of the Kayapo tribe.
Preliminary data collected by the National Institute for Space Research showed an 85 percent increase in Amazon deforestation last year when compared to 2018.
‘A quarantine will not be necessary’: Trump backtracks on plan to lockdown New York area
President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he would not go forward with his plan to quarantine the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
"On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the CDC to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government," Trump announced on Twitter.
"A quarantine will not be necessary," he declared.
"Full details will be released by CDC tonight. Thank you!" he added.
Scared New York medical workers decry lack of Personal Protective Equipment during coronavirus crisis
Medical staff in America's coronavirus hotbed New York are struggling with long hours and a dire need for protective equipment -- and as infections surge, they increasingly fear for their own safety.
Doctors and nurses are working around the clock caring for patients hit by the fast-spreading infection, risking their lives on the front lines of the global crisis.
The same week the United States became the new epicenter of the pandemic -- with about 120,000 confirmed cases of infection and 2,000 deaths -- Kious Kelly, a nurse manager at a Manhattan hospital, succumbed to a fatal case of the COVID-19 illness.
WATCH: Terrifying videos shows tornado striking Jonesboro, Arkansas
Jonesboro, Arkansas was hit by a powerful tornado on Saturday.
Multiple people used their cell phones to capture video of the tornado.
Here are some of the videos of the tornado: