Armed police raid the MST’s National School, detain MST members and fire live ammunition Early on the morning of November 4, armed police raided the “Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes” (ENFF) in Guararema, Sao Paulo, detained members of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) members and fired live ammunition. The ENFF school is owned and run by the Landless Workers Movement (MST). This brutal action is part of an illegal crackdown operation against the MST spanning several states - Paraná, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará and São Paulo. In Paraná, eight local MST leaders were detained for unknown reasons. The MST – or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - was created over three decades ago and is Brazil’s largest social movement dedicated to defending small farmers’ access to land and national agrarian reform. The MST has assisted hundreds of thousands of peasant families in gaining land for farming with the support of articles 184 and 186 of Brazil’s 1988 Constitution. The MST has also played a central role in the broad-based, peaceful protest movement opposing the anti-democratic and illegitimate removal of democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff from office on August 31 this year. The “Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes” campus was financed with donations from Brazilian musician Chico Buarque, photographer Sebastião Salgado and the Portuguese Nobel Prize winning author José Saramago, among others. Hundreds of intellectuals, teachers and artists from Brazil and around the world have held lectures and courses at the school and contributed teaching materials. The ENFF is a symbol of solidarity with the rural movements in Brazil and with movements in other parts of Latin America and the world that advocate for the democratization of education and land. The raid of the school by armed police was carried out without a warrant. Police agents arrived around 9:25am and, shortly afterwards, climbed over the reception gate and shot multiple rounds. Based on the bullet casings found at the scene, the police used lethal rounds – not rubber bullets. According to the MST, two members of the movement were detained and subsequently released a few hours later. Those detained were the singer Gladys Cristina de Oliveira and 64 year-old librarian Ronaldo Valença Hernandes, whose rib was fractured during the incident. State-led attacks against the MST began escalating during the month of September when several members of the MST were arrested and accused of being part of a “criminal organization” under the new Law of Criminal Association. We call for an immediate end to the repression and criminalization of the MST and other grassroots organizations in Brazil, and for the release of all those arrested on groundless charges. Advocacy for land rights and peaceful protest are not a crime. They are essential rights protected under Brazil’s constitution and that must be respected by all Brazilian authorities. Signed: Individuals Danny Glover, filmmaker and activist (USA) Camila Pitanga, actress (Brazil) Wagner Moura, actor (Brazil) Dira Paes, actress (Brazil) Oliver Stone, film director(USA) Brian Eno, musician and composer (UK) Sílvia Buarque, actress (Brazil) Osmar Prado, actor (Brazil) Paulo Betti , actor (Brazil) Cristina Pereira, actress (Brazil) David Miranda, journalist and city councilman (Brazil) James Early, former director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution (USA) Pat Mooney, author and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (Canada) Gary Prevost, political science professor at St. John’s University (USA) Miguel Tinker Salas, professor of Latin American History, Pomona College (USA) Silvia Ribeiro, Latin America director of ETC Group (Mexico) Tariq Ali, writer and filmmaker (UK) Nicole Fabricant, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Towson University Jorge Varela Marquez, Premio Goldman 1999 Harry E. Vanden, Professor, University of South Florida Robert Austin, Visiting Scholar, Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney Fernando Morais, author and journalist (Brazil) Nora Hamilton, Professor of Political Science, USC Clara E. Irazábal-Zurita, Professor of Urban Planning, University of Missouri Julie A. Charlip, Professor, Latin American History, Whitman College Gary Prevost, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University Cecilia Santos, University of San Francisco and Center for Social Studies at University of Coimbra Monica Dias Martins, Professor, UECE Richard Stahler-Sholk, Eastern Michigan University Miguel Tinker Salas, Professor of Latin American History, Pomona College Hilbourne A. Watson, Department of International Relations, Professor Emeritus, Bucknell University Ilene Frank, Professor emerita, Tampa Library, University of South Florida Dale Leonard Johnson, Professor, Heredia Costa Rica Bernardo Ricupero, Professor of Political Science, USP Nora Hamilton, Professor of Political Science, USC Kevin A. Young, Assistant Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst Jan Rus, Centro de Estudios Superiores de México y Centroamérica, Chiapas, MEXICO Alexander Main, senior associate at Center for Economic and Policy Research, USA Organizations Grassroots International Development and Peace Amazon Watch FIAN Brazil and FIAN International Friends of the Earth, US Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns Transnational Institute (TNI), Holland Climate Justice Alliance, USA Food First Focus on the Global South, Thailand and Philippines Asian Pacific Environmental Network, USA Other Worlds Family Farm Defenders, USA Ambiente, Desarrollo y Capacitacion, Honduras Asociación de pescadores de Pequeña Escala de Cedeno, Honduras Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA), Berkeley, CA ETC group International GRAIN, international Movimento Mundial pelas Florestas Tropicas Rede de Pesquisa Observatório das Nacionalidades Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), India India Union of Forest Working People AIUFWP Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya National Family Farm Coalition, USA Peoples Architecture Commonweal, India Rede de Pesquisa Observatório das Nacionalidades (UECE) Social Action for Change (SAC), Cambodia Project South, USA Society for International Development (SID) Solidarity for Sustainable North East, India Solidarity Sweden - Latin America The Corner House, UK Women Lanka Network, Sri Lanka WhyHunger, USA Black Mesa Water Coalition, USA FIAN Sweden FIAN Germany Movement Generation, USA Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, USA The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York Cooperation Jackson, USA Farmworker Association of Florida, USA UPROSE, USA Brazilian Women's Group, USA Community Alliance for Global Justice Indigenous Environmental Network Rising Tide North America Ironbound Community Corporation, USA Brazilian Expats for Democracy and Social Justice, USA The Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, USA Stone Soup Worcester, USA US Global Village Farms Southwest Workers Union, USA The Ruckus Society International Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy The Transnational Institute Women's International League for Peace & Freedom US Section US Friends of MST Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, USA Community to Community, USA Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. of New York, Inc.