A 400-strong group took part in a demonstration to remove miners and woodcutters from the Sarare indegenous area in the state of Mato Grosso on January 11. The demonstration was supported by the federal, military and forest police, the national mineral research department and the Brazilian institute for the environment and renewable natural resources. Recent estimates suggest that the number of invaders of the 67,420-ha area demarcated in 1990 may have grown from 8,000 to 12,000. The lack of protection in the area poses risks to the lives of communities like the Kithaulu, who were assaulted by some woodcutters and miners in November 1996.
Several pro-Indian groups recently alleged that a one-year-old decree which was passed to demarcate the indigenous lands benefits invaders and reduces the size of indigenous lands. This was put across strongly especially after a government decision on the Raposa/Serra do Sol area. Tension also prevailed in Roraima and was expected to spread to several parts of Brazil coveted by private individuals, corporations and mining and timber companies.
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