Indigenous Brazilians pitch tents near Congress in annual protest

By Associated Press Reporter

Hundreds of indigenous Brazilians have gathered outside Brazil’s Congress for an annual three-day camping out protest known as the Free Land Encampment.

The lawn in front of Congress is dotted with tents, with indigenous people singing, dancing and selling crafts while wearing traditional feathered headdresses and their faces painted red and black.

Xucuru indigenous people (Eraldo Peres/AP)

The event began on Wednesday amid animosity between Brazil’s indigenous groups and the new government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

His justice minister is deploying national guard troops for security at the expansive lawn where a total of 4,000 indigenous people are expected to camp out.

The group is protesting Bolsonaro policies that include a practical halt to designations of indigenous lands and his calls for ending or limiting access to a federal indigenous health care programme.