Jun 24, 2021

Gold rush fuels armed violence in Brazilian Amazon

At around midday on 11 May, Dario Kopenawa, an indigenous leader, received a desperate phone call from a remote village in the Brazilian Amazon. An indigenous man was grazed by a bullet in the head, Kopenawa learned, and four miners were injured. Palimiú, located deep in the state of Roraima, sits on Brazil's largest indigenous reserve, which has an area similar to Portugal and 27,000 people. Kopenawa, who lives in the state capital Boa Vista where he leads the indigenous association called Hutakara, said "Bolsonaro supports the garimpeiros" and had no interest in protecting the Yanomami. "Funai used to be a friend of the indigenous people," she told me.

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