The session that was to be held on Tuesday (16) at the Chamber of Deputies to deliberate over Proposed Constitutional Amendment 215, referred to as PEC 215, which transfers to the National Congress the power to demarcate indigenous areas, has been canceled.
During an attempt to gain entry to the Chamber and stop the vote from being held, members of a number of indigenous ethnic groups clashed with the Military Police and the Legislative Police. Four officers were injured and pepper spray was used to disperse the crowd. According to the Legislative Police, one of the indigenous demonstrators shot an arrow that hit the foot of an official from the Public Prosecution Office.
According to the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi), four indigenous people were arrested after the demonstrations. Cimi Executive Secretary Cléber Buzatto declared that legal representatives from the organization heard the activists at the police station, who reported they had been the target of threats and acts of violence from the Military Police during the conflict. According to Buzatto, the protesters were accused of wounding police officers and security guards.
As it is today, setting the boundaries of indigenous territories is a prerogative of the Executive Power. Indigenous rights associations argue that changing this would make new demarcations impossible, as such measures are connected with the interests of landowners and farmers, supported by a coalition in Congress.
Henrique Eduardo Alves, head of the Chamber of Deputies acknowledged that, in case there is no compromise over the vote in question, it might be put off to the next tenure, which starts in February 2015. He also regretted what he described as “extreme behavior” among the ones involved in the conflict.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Vote on PEC 215 put off after protests