Solidarity with the Landless Workers Movement!
Police storm the National School Florestan Fernandes (ENFF), from the Landless Workers Movement (MST), near São Paulo. We are concerned about the criminalization of social movements in Brazil
On November 4th, at around 9 a. m., a contingency of Civil Police officers stormed the National School Florestan Fernandes (ENFF), from the Landless Workers Movement (MST), near São Paulo. Without a warrant to search the premises, the police forced entrance, fired two shots and arrested an elderly man and a woman. According to the press, the invasion of the school was part of a major police operation against the Landless Movement in three states, in behalf of an alleged cattle theft in the south of Brazil. In São Paulo, the officers supposedly were looking for one of the movement’s members mentioned in the process. According to the MST, however, the whole operation means to frighten the activists of two camps on public land coveted by a lumber company in the state of Paraná.
The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung hereby expresses its deepest concern, repudiating the recent human rights violations in Brazil that point to a process of criminalization of the social movements. As an organization that defends democracy and freedom of speech, we see with dismay the repeated episodes of repression of peaceful protests and social organizations committed to the expansion of human rights.
The Florestan Fernandes National School (ENFF), built until 2005 by means of the volunteer work of more than a thousand landless workers, is an educational project which organizes courses for members of social organizations from around the world. At the time of the police action, students from more than 30 countries, including women and children, attended classes there.
As a partner of ENFF, where many seminars and courses were organized during the last decade, with our participation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation considers that the use of force by the police against social movements is violence against the rights of all citizens, and thus calls upon the public authorities and the international network of human rights activists to accompany these alarming episodes which threaten the democratic achievements attained during the last three decades.