Brazil Indians Occupy Port, Disrupt Pulp Exports

Dec. 12, 2006 - Some 100 Brazilian Indians and land-rights protesters stopped shipments from one of the world's largest wood pulp producers today after they occupied a major port to demand land owned by the company, according to a report on New.com.

Indians from the Guarani and Tupiniquim tribes brought the Portocel port of Aracruz Celulose in Espirito Santo state on Brazil's southeast coast to a standstill.

"The interruption of operations at Portocel directly affects the national economy because it handles 90 per cent of Brazil's wood pulp exports," Aracruz said.

Wood pulp producer Cenibra also exports via Portocel.

The peaceful occupation was part of a dispute between Indians and Aracruz over 11,000 hectares of land.

The Indians claim ancestral rights to the land, but Aracruz has legal title and has produced anthropological studies to dispute the indigenous claims.

A spokesman for Brazil's Indian agency, FUNAI, said it was preparing a letter asking indigenous leaders to abandon the occupation because it might hurt their chances of winning the legal battle for the land.

Protesters from Brazil's large landless workers movement, the MST, were also part of the port occupation, Aracruz said.

The MST stages land invasions to push for reform in Brazil, where 1 per cent of the population owns 47 per cent of the land.

Aracruz, the world's largest producer of bleached eucalyptus pulp, owns thousands of hectares planted with eucalyptus near the Espirito Santo port.

SOURCE: News.com

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