Indigenous People Block BR-163 in Pará and Prevent the Transit of Trucks with Grains

Kayapós affirm that the road brought disease to their villages and also seek compensation

Approximately one hundred kayapó people who live in indigenous lands in southwestern Pará on this Monday (17) paralyzed the BR-163, an important route for the flow of grains from the Midwest, causing congestion.

Dressed for war, the indigenous people requested the renewal of the Basic Environmental Plan, asked for more health care due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and take a stand against the construction of the Ferrogrão railway without their input, as the project will construct tracks near their lands.

The blockade, which started around 7 am, occurred at km 302 of BR-163, in Novo Progresso (PA), said the head of the 5th police station of the Federal Highway Police of Santarém, Sidmar de Oliveira, responsible for crisis office installed to follow the case.

Kayapo indigenous people block Brazil's BR 163 national highway, as they protest against the government measures in the indigenous lands to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Novo Progresso, Para state, Brazil August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Landau - REUTERS

The highway connects important soy and corn-producing regions of Mato Grosso to the river port of Miritituba, in Itaituba (PA), where barges take grain to the Amazon River ports to be exported.

According to Oliveira, the indigenous people also requested the governor of Pará, Helder Barbalho, or a representative, to negotiate better conditions for aid against the coronavirus's spread.

The Kayapós, who live in the adjacent Indian reserves Menkragnoti and Baú, say that the road brought disease to their villages and seek compensation.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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