Extinction Rebellion paints Brazilian Embassies blood-red in international indigenous rights demonstrations

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Context: Read the Amazon Watch update on extractivism and violence directed towards Indigenous peoples of the Brazilian Amazon in 2019.

  • Extinction Rebellion splatter red paint and spray messages on the Brazilian Embassy in London
  • Extinction Rebellion are taking part in similar actions at Brazilian Embassies in 11 countries, including Chile, Portugal, the UK, France, Switzerland, Spain and more to demand “Indigenous blood – Not one more drop”
  • Protests begin as thousands of Indigenous women march on Brasilia today, while Indigenous Brazilian people are invaded and killed by armed and violent illegal miners
  • Amazon deforestation skyrocketed last month, while scientists warn that the world’s greatest rainforest is nearing the climate “tipping point” of irreversibly turning into savannah
  • Extinction Rebellion organisers say that they are “openly challenging the Brazilian government” over state-sanctioned human rights abuses and “ecocide”, the proposed crime of environmental destruction
  • International Extinction Rebellion groups have stated that further disruption will occur until Indigenous demands for land, rights, health and justice are met

At 8am in London this morning, members of Extinction Rebellion from an Extinction Rebellion affinity group known as “the Snowflakes” blockaded the main entrances to the Brazilian Embassy on Cockspur Street near Trafalgar Square. 

In a continuing escalation of Extinction Rebellion’s #PaintTheStreets campaign to “tell the truth on the emergency”, the Rebels used paint and cardboard stencils to cover the walls and windows of the Embassy in messages of dissent for the Brazilian Government and president Jair Bolsonaro. They then doused the building in red paint to symbolise the blood of the hundreds of oppressed peoples killed under Brazil’s toxic, corrupted regime, particularly Brazil’s indigenous peoples. 

Iggy Fox, 24, a wildlife biologist who took part in the action in London, said: “The idea behind this is to challenge people to asking: When the Brazilian state sanctions extractivists as they murder people, burn forests, drive species to extinction, destroy homes, and endanger our futures, who is doing the real damage here? Who is the criminal?”.

The Rebels attached themselves to the building by supergluing their hands to the windows, others fastening bicycle locks around their necks and the door handles to maintain the blockade. They were then surrounded by more activists taking part in a nearby march – a vigil for murdered environmental defenders, which was initially a separate action from another Extinction Rebellion group targeting the Embassy. This prevented Embassy workers from entering the building for the morning’s work.

Sian Vaughan, 54, a retired primary school headteacher who took part in the action in London, said: “We need everyone to know what’s going on in Brazil, and to tell the UK Government to act. If we close our eyes to the criminal destruction taking place, our children will pay the price. The climate crisis is global.” 

This is one of several times Extinction Rebellion UK activists have targeted the Brazilian Embassy. In November, they held a “big queer party” outside the building to protest Bolsonaro’s open homophobia and threats to industrialise the Amazon. In April, they held a “Carnival of Chaos” outside the Embassy to highlight the damage done to the rainforests of Latin America, with a samba band and supporter Vivienne Westwood giving a speech.

But these dramatic displays are said to be “just the beginning” of Rebellious actions directed at the Brazilian Government. The activists delivered a letter to the Embassy demanding that the Brazilian Government enacts the demands made by Indigenous groups gathered in Brasilia at the 2019 Free Land Camp. The letter suggested that if they did not receive a reply and see concrete action, Extinction Rebellion would collaborate with other groups to begin an international boycott of Brazilian and companies.

Lazer Sorrë, an 18-year-old secondary school student, who took part in the protest in London, said: “In school we learn about atrocities, and think: “how did they let that happen back then?” But we shouldn’t only be asking about back then. We can’t let slide these horrors that are being inflicted not only to Indigenous people and environmental activists, but to the Amazon rainforest as well. We need to do what we can to protect what Bolsonaro’s government is trying to destroy.” sad 

In Context

Today two thousand Indigenous women march on Brasilia demanding recognition and respect from the Brazilian state. Two months previously, over four thousand Indigenous community leaders made their yearly Free Land Camp (#ATL2019) in Brasilia, marching to the capital to demand justice in “land, rights, and health” from the Brazilian Government. This year’s protests were the focus of high tensions, as Indigenous groups pressed on with their protests despite Bolsonaro authorising the National Guard to be present in a show of force against the demonstrators.

Indigenous groups around the country have expressed fear and anger at Bolsonaro’s rhetoric and the rapid, aggressive changes to their environment that have begun worsening since he came to power. Just over two weeks ago, Emyra of the Wajapi people was stabbed to death after armed wildcat miners invaded their village in Amapa. The murder provoked a callout for international help which has been repeated widely on social media, including many who highlight the fact that the Wajapi are at risk of genocide by extractivists. President Bolsonaro denied there is any proof Emyra was murdered, despite official government reports displaying evidence suggesting the contrary.

After the Bolsonaro regime came to power in January, it has enacted sweeping changes to the structure of the ministries involved in environmental and agricultural legislation. Both Bolsonaro and his newly-appointed environment minister Ricardo Salles have been criticised by researchers from the National Institute for Research in Amazonia (INPA) for denying of anthropogenic climate change, and legitimising environmental destruction by the powerful agribusiness lobby and mineral extractivists. Bolsonaro has also incorporated FUNAI, the official Government body in charge of dealing with Indigenous land claims, into a “new ministry of women, family and human rights presided over by a conservative evangelical pastor”. Many groups see this as a direct attack on their human rights. 

The INPA researchers described the recent government policy changes as a “death agenda” which threatens Indigenous people, biodiversity and the global climate. Recent reports show Amazon deforestation rates up 88% compared to June last year – with Bolsonaro claiming the data was falsified. Prominent Indigenous activists, increasingly including female leaders such as Sônia Guajajara, have been leading vocal campaigns to raise awareness and oppose the Government’s anti-indigenous activity. 

Photos from the indigenous women’s march here.

Additional quotes:

Declaration to the Brazilian Government made by Indigenous leaders at the Acampamento Terra Livre (Free Land Camp), #ATL2019, Brasilia:

We resisted 519 years ago and will continue to resist… In addition to attacks on our lives, cultures and territories, we repudiate the attacks orchestrated by the Farming and Livestock Front against Mother Nature… This is a government that is strongly committed, anti-national, predatory, ethnicized, genocidal and ecocidal.”

Sônia Guajajara of APIB (Brazilian Indigenous People’s Articulation) said:

“It’s very important to be here in Brasilia to show the world that indigenous women are resisting attacks on our rights and the rollbacks of this government. We are staging our first women’s march counting on the presence, visibility, strength, and spirituality of indigenous women. We are all warriors on the front lines of this struggle against today’s political reality, which is so adverse to our peoples. We also aim to raise awareness among the international community to build support for Brazil’s indigenous peoples. This is a global movement, a planetary movement.”

Célia Xacriabá of APIB said:

“For the first time in history, the indigenous women’s march convenes more than 100 different peoples in Brasilia with more than 2,000 women present. This is a movement that is not only symbolically important, but also historically and politically significant. When they try to take away our rights, it’s not enough to only defend our territories. We also need to occupy spaces beyond our villages, such as institutional spaces and political representativity.”

Zappi, a British-Brazilian in her 20s from London, participated in the action in London, said: 

“It’s devastating to see people from my mother’s home country suffer under a racist, homophobic, sexist government. Under a President who incites violence towards indigenous peoples, oppresses intersectional groups and murders people who speak out about injustices… The lungs of our world will deteriorate under the hands of greed. More Indigenous people will be murdered in the name of so-called “civilisation”. And in the end the ones who will suffer most will never be the ones who caused the problem.”  

-Ends-

Notes to editors

WHAT’S HAPPENING AND WHERE – in brief

Lisbon, Portugal, Friday – “Stop killing our mother! To protect Indigenous women is to protect our Earth.” Rebels covered in fake blood stage a die-in roadblock, lying directly on tram tracks in front of the Embassy during the International Day of Indigenous Peoples last Friday. Photos and Video

Bern, Switzerland, Monday – Extinction Rebels bring a black “bloodstained” coffin to the embassy reading “Not a single drop more”, and hold framed photos of murdered environmental defenders and deforested regions. Photos

LONDON, UK, Tuesday – the #XRSnowflakes affinity group splatter and spray red paint on the windows and walls of the Embassy, aided by Christian Climate Action. Photos and video.

Stay tuned for updates on what’s happening in other locations!

Declaration from ATL2019  Indigenous leaders’ Free Land Camp – shortened version:

“Brasília – DF, April 24 to 26, 2019

We resisted 519 years ago and will continue to resist

We, more than 4,000 leaders of indigenous peoples and organizations from all regions of Brazil, representatives of 305 people, gathered in Brasília (DF), from April 24 to 26, 2019, during the XV Free Land Camp (ATL) ), outraged by the scorched earth policy of the Bolsonaro government and other state organs against our rights, we came out of the public to state:

Our vehement repudiation of the governmental purposes of exterminating us, as they did with our ancestors during the period of the colonial invasion, during the military dictatorship, and even more recently, all to renounce our most sacred right: the original right to land, territories and natural goods that we have preserved for thousands of years and which are the foundation of our existence, our identity and our ways of life.

The Federal Constitution of 1988 enshrined the multiethnic nature of the Brazilian State. However, we are experiencing the most serious scenario of attacks on our rights since the country’s re-democratization. The Bolsonaro government decided for the bankruptcy of the indigenist policy, through the deliberate dismantling and the political instrumentalization of the institutions and the actions that the Public Power has the duty to guarantee.

In addition to attacks on our lives, cultures and territories, we repudiate the attacks orchestrated by the Farming and Livestock Front against Mother Nature. The ruralist group is accelerating the discussion of the General Environmental Licensing Law, in collusion with the Ministries of Environment, Infrastructure and Agriculture. The project seeks to exempt impacting licensing activities and establishes in a single step the three phases of licensing, profoundly altering the process of issuing these authorizations throughout the country, which will strongly impact Indigenous Lands and their environments.

The economic project of the Bolsonaro government responds to powerful financial interests, corporate corporations, many of them international, agribusiness and mining, among others. Therefore, it is a government that is strongly committed, anti-national, predatory, ethnicized, genocidal and ecocidal.”

Full original version with Indigenous Demands of the Brazilian Government: https://mobilizacaonacionalindigena.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/documento-final-do-xv-acampamento-terra-livre/?fbclid=IwAR30VpcNy4oRS1Mlq9l2SfAcMIOxEZqP53R1-bcP9eHOMArmW8YHqp9gFEI

Also coming up!

Climate Factsheet for Rebels

https://rebellion.earth/the-climate-factsheet-for-rebels/

About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by its Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. The Government must tell the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens
  2. The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels
  3. A national Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

Get involved in Extinction Rebellion’s other events

UK website: https://rebellion.earth/

International website: https://xrebellion.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExtinctionR hashtag #ExtinctionRebellion

Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion; whilst the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.


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