[04/19/08] International Day of Peasant Struggle - Rural Landless Step up Campaign in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) — Rural landless workers in Brazil stepped up their campaign for agricultural reform Thursday by holding several demonstrations and occupying a hydroelectric plant and freeway toll stations, their organization said. The protests were part of the Landless Farmworkers Movement's "Red April" operation to force the government to give them land grants and easier access to public loans for some 150,000 dispossessed families living in shantytowns around the country. Demonstrations took place in the states of Ceara, Pernambuco, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Paraiba and Para.

In northern Sergipe state, 850 families occupied a hydroelectric plant to demand the resumption of irrigation projects suspended a decade ago. In Parana, in the south, 1,500 activists took over the toll booths to protest the added charges for transporting produce. Another 800 held a demonstration in the same state to denounce the use of armed private security guards that violently force them off land they are squatting. ~~~~ Article Originally Available @: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g-hZZUWm3vL85ASMY5uu-7GomyuQ