Twenty Tupinikim and Guarani Indians injured in police evictions

At least twenty Tupinikim and Guarani Indians were seriously wounded last week when 120 federal police attempted to evict them from their land on behalf of the company Aracruz Cellulose.

The police invaded the Indian villages of Córrego D'Ouro and Olho D'Água in the state of Espírito Santo on Friday 20 January, firing rubber bullets and destroying houses. They were also armed with tear gas and sub-machine guns.

The Tupinikim and Guarani communities, tired of waiting for their land to be officially recognised, had reoccupied it in May 2005 and marked out its boundaries. Their land had been in the hands of Aracruz Cellulose for almost forty years.

The company had obtained an eviction order from a local court, but according to local human rights organisations, the Indians had received no prior warning of the eviction. Local organisations also allege that the machinery used to destroy the Indians' houses was supplied by Aracruz Cellulose.