Protesters break into Brazil congress

About 300 protesters demanding land reform broke into Brazil's congress on Tuesday and clashed with police.

    Landless rural workers occupy the National Congress

    Twenty-three security officers were injured in the hour-long confrontation in the capital, Brasilia, authorities said.

    Protesters broke open the glass doors in the parliament building with stones, sticks and a small Fiat car as a battering ram.

    The demonstrators were stopped in front of the entrance to the chamber of deputies in a scuffle that was broadcast live on television.

    Hundreds of demonstrators were detained, the police department said without providing precise numbers

    The president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, condemned the protest and accused demonstrators of "committing a serious act of vandalism against the parliament."

    The president's spokesman, Andre Singer, said that Lula expressed his "solidarity and support to the national Congress" and that he was sure social movements in Brazil did not identify with the demonstrators.

    'Police attacked us'

    Protesters overturn a car at the
    entrance of the congress in Brasilia

    The protesters, from a radical group that has split from the larger Landless Workers' Movement, said they had planned to present a letter to the parliamentary speakers in a peaceful manner but had reacted to what they called aggressive measures by security officers.

    "It was a peaceful action but the police attacked us," protest leader Burno Maranhao told reporters.

    Organisers said they were demanding the government should carry out land reform and release more than $4 billion set aside for agricultural assistance.

    The movement of landless peasants seeks government help in expropriating fallow land for their use.

    Under Brazil's 1988 constitution, unproductive land may be expropriated as long as the owner is compensated.

    The incident caused an intense debate in the chamber, with opposition deputies charging that corruption allegations surrounding Lula's ruling coalition had undermined the public's confidence in government.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.