Two people were shot and killed at the research
farm owned by Syngenta AG
when activist protesting biotech crops were confronted by armed men.
One of the dead men is a security guard, the other an activist, in addition four activists and four security guards were injured. What actually happened to lead up to the violence is still unknown but 7 security guards have been arrested and may face homicide charges.
The activists and members of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement
and the peasant’s rights group Via Campesina
set off fireworks when they entered the farm. A bus arrived shortly after and apparently there were armed men on that bus.
A shoot out then ensued, despite the fact that Syngenta’s contract with its security company requires the guards to be unarmed.
Brazil permits the use of genetically modified seeds for some crops,
The state government of the Prana region has outlawed genetically modified corn and has tried to have the farm closed.
The Landless Workers Movement wants "to bring an end the evil effects of genetically modified products and their growing presence in Brazil Landless Workers Movement spokeswoman Maria Mello said.
She added that the Syngenta invasion was part of a push to target "multinationals in the agribusiness sector whose presence in Brazil delays the swift implementation of agrarian reform."
Invasion of private property is a common tactic of the movement and is used to pressure the government to redistribute land to the poor. Via Campesina claims that it represents poor farm workers and indigenous communities in 56 nations world.