Below, we reproduce an article published by the Journal Resistência Camponesa about the resistance of peasants in the Manoel Ribeiro Area and region against military attacks.
Police officers from the special operations group of the military police in conjunction with the civilian police have increased intimidation tactics in bars and roads in the Renato Nathan, Zé Bentão and Maranatã areas. The intimidation intensified after the electoral farce ended.
All of these areas targeted by attacks are close to Camp Manoel Ribeiro and are part of the former Santa Elina Farm that was taken back by the people 10 years ago.
The peasants reported that at least two vehicles, one of them marked and the other undercover, circulated the region approaching peasants on the roads and in local bars on December 4.
In a blatantly illegal and persecutive manner, the policemen arrived at the commercial establishments with heavy weapons; they photographed the documents and faces of those present and took their telephone numbers. Since it was Friday night, they were very busy.
Residents also reported the presence of people from outside the region and policemen at the headquarters of Nossa Senhora Aparecida farm on the same date (12/04).
There has been constant intimidation and threats of repression in the rural area of Chupinguaia and Corumbiara since the peasants occupied the lands of the Nossa Senhora Aparecida latifundium in August.
As a result of the frequent attacks, peasants’ work vehicles like motorcycles and pickup trucks have been seized during these raids and workers have been arrested for carrying hunting and defense weapons, which is very common in rural areas of Brazil.
During these raids, and with the clear aim of criminalizing the struggle for land and the political persecution of peasants, the police repeatedly asked if the workers knew Camp Manoel Ribeiro, its people, and the League of Poor Peasants. Police officers also expressed all their hatred against the workers with lines like “All vagabonds! They steal land from others.” These facts make clear once again the anti-popular character of these latifundium guard dogs who consider all peasants and poor people as potential suspects, while the rich landowners, thieves of public lands, perpetrators of the most heinous crimes, representatives of what is most backward in this semi-feudal and semi-colonial system, go unpunished.
PEASANTS ARE NOT INTIMIDATED AND SHOW RESISTANCE
On October 23, workers reported that two vehicles from the military police tactical force surrounded Camp Manoel Ribeiro, stopping vehicles in the vicinity and in the neighboring revolutionary areas.
As they approached the camp, fireworks were fired alerting everyone to the presence of the reactionary agents.
A group of peasants promptly headed to the front of the occupied area, where the vehicles of repression stopped. Raising flags and their work tools (scythes and hoes), the families shouted slogans and sang fighting songs.
Seeing the peasants’ willingness to fight, the police, who claimed to be at the service of Operation “Peace in the Field,” retreated and set up a checkpoint at the corner of the road that leads to the camp.
According to reports from the residents, the vehicles, coming from Chupinguaia, parked at the headquarters of the Nossa Senhora latifundium and set up at least 4 checkpoints on the MC01 line, a very busy rural road between Chupinguaia and Corumbiara.
A peasant from the region, who was carrying a bag of cassava to be donated to the camp, was stopped by the police who, without permission, photographed the worker and his documents. In a blatant act of arbitrariness, the agents tried to coerce the peasant into unlocking the cell phone he was carrying, without success.
Other peasants stopped at the blitzes reported being asked if they knew where the so-called “Corumbiara Massacre” had taken place and if they knew information about the camp.
According to reports, the police also made intimidating footage of the workers’ movements in the region and hijacked at least two motorcycles on this occasion.