Brazilian police, indigenous tribes clash outside Congress

Brazilian police, indigenous tribes clash outside Congress

Brasília (AFP) - Thousands of Brazilian indigenous tribe members clashed with riot police Tuesday while demonstrating in the capital, Brasilia, for greater rights.

Some of the indigenous people were armed with bows and arrows, while police rained tear gas onto the protesters. Groups of demonstrators carried coffins representing indigenous dead in the takeover of their ancestral lands across Brazil and some tried to break into the Congress building.

The protest took place in what's dubbed Indigenous Week, a series of activities in the capital highlighting the tribes' many problems as they attempt to coexist with ever an ever expanding agricultural industry and try to enforce their land rights.

Many attended the protest dressed in traditional garb, including feathers and body paint.

"The coffins represent all the indigenous people from 305 ethic groups who have died over the years," said Marize de Oliveira, 58 a historian of the Guarani people.

"The agricultural and evangelical lobby want to destroy our rights and turn Brazil into the world's breadbasket, ending biodiversity."