SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Members of the Kayapó indigenous tribe have lifted a blockade of a key grains export road on the fifth day of protest after the state government of Pará agreed to talk and hear their demands, the Kabu Institute that represents them said on Friday.
There were truck lines stretching 30 km in both directions as a result of the protest that began on Monday on the BR-163 highway in the region of Novo Progresso, the tribe said in a statement.
The BR-163 highway links towns in the nation’s biggest farm state Mato Grosso to the port of Miritituba, an important export river gateway in Pará state. With the soy season almost over, the main grain transported on the road at present is corn.
The tribe says the federal government has failed to protect them from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed four of their elders.
The Kayapó are also demanding that the government resume payment of environmental reparation money agreed years ago when paving of the BR-163 highway began.
In the talks with the Pará government, representatives of the local government also promised to help broker talks with the federal government on the Kayapó demands, according to the Kabu Institute.
Among their grievances, the tribe says it was not consulted by the federal government on plans to build the so-called Ferrogrão railway, set to cross part of the Amazon to connect Mato Grosso state to river ports for soy and corn.
The railway will run parallel to the BR-163 highway.
The Kayapó, who live on the adjacent Menkragnoti e Baú indigenous reservations, claim the road has brought illness to their people.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Andrea Ricci