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Activities and Events on the International Day of Peasants’ struggle – 17 April 2006

17 April 2006

The commemoration of the 17 April as the International Day of Peasant’s struggle has gathered momentum in various countries around the world. At this very moment, some activities are still going on, and others will be organised in the days to come. This shows the world that peasants’ struggles really are taking place everywhere, from villages to cities, and at both a national and an international level.

We are taking this opportunity to send you a second list containing information on the various activities taking place in different countries and organisations. You can carry on sending us information about the activities taking place linked to 17th April.

Please send us any information or news about how the activities are going in the various places. If you have any photos you can also send those to Tejo Pramono (tpramono@viacampesina.org).

1. Palestine: On 17 April, the International Day for the Peasants’ Cause, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) called upon international social movements to lend their support to the struggle of Palestinian farmers and urged international institutions to act to immediately stop human rights violations against Palestinian farmers. For more information please visit http://www.parc.ps and contact Ghada Zughayar, (PARC- Beit Hanina P.O. Box 25128, Shu’fat/ Jerusalem Tel. 00972 2 5833818 Fax: 00972 2 5831 898 Mobile: (+972) (0) 52 2 327 644 E-mail: ghada @pal-arc.org)

2. Mozambique: União Nacional de Camponeses /UNAC– is organizing a peaceful march and conference. The march will be held in the Marracuene district and is organised by the UCAM (district union of Marracuene farmers), which is a member of UNAC. The march will be followed by lunch where traditional dishes will be served, and later there will be recreational activities. (contact Diamantino : unacadvocacia@tvcabo.co.mz)

3. Brazil: The MST (Landless Rural Workers’ Movement) organised numerous activities to commemorate the Eldorado dos Carajas massacre. The MST criticised the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators and called for agrarian reform in favour of 150,000 families. It also occupied 10 properties in Pontal do Paranapanema and 2 in Minas Gerais, blockaded 7 roads in Pernambuco (including 2 seizures of lorries) and 5 roads in Rio Grande do Sul, occupied the estate owned by the company Suzano Papel y Celulose in Bahia, donated blood in Mato Grosso do Sul, and organised mobilisations in Paraná and Alagoas.

In the state of Para, MST is organising a large educational camp from April 1 to 17. The aim of this mobilization, which is initially planned to involve 200 young people in settlements and camps, is to commemorate the massacre of Eldorado dos Carajas 10 years on. Nineteen landless workers were brutally murdered by the military police during this massacre.

MST has also launched an appeal to all its friends abroad to mobilize on April 17 in order to:
A/ draw up documents protesting against the Eldorado dos Carajas massacre when 19 farmers were killed and justice has not been done.
B/ link this action to solidarity activities with the women of La Via Campesina Brazil who occupied ARACRUZ, a Eucalyptus plantation, during the FAO conference in Porto Alegre. They are now being treated as criminals and being persecuted by the police. (Dulcineia Pavan : srimst@uol.com.br)

4. Honduras: the COCOCH sent a public communiqué to the national and international authorities and the Honduran people calling for agrarian reform and food sovereignty.?

5. Spain: on 23 April, La Olla del Bierzo, along with the Cacabelos Town Hall, will organise the celebration of the International Day for the Peasants’ Cause in Cacabelos (in León, Spain), providing information on La Via Campesina and MST. Alongside this event, environmentally friendly products will be on sale and there will be the opportunity to meet environmentally friendly farmers from the region.

6. USA – Rugers: Students are camping out to protest against education funding cuts. A group of students has set up exhibitions of their research projects on farmers and agribusiness in India, China, Colombia, Nicaragua and on how Nestle hurts farmers and workers. wkramer@access4less.net

7. Switzerland: For the International Day for the Peasants’ Cause, Uniterre in Geneva will be organising a day of discussions, enjoyment and aspirations based around local farming and food (29 April) – v.hemmeler@uniterre.ch

8. Belgium: Various organisations brought together under one umbrella as the 17 April Collective (CETRI, CNCD, Comité Belgo Brésilien, Entraide et Fraternité, FIAN Belgique, FUGEA) have published a joint communiqué called “Enough of WTO Neoliberal Policies” for 17th April (fugea2@skynet.be)

9. Argentina: The newspaper “Pagina 12” published an article by Dario Aranda for the International Day for the Peasants’ Cause entitled “Cuando las tierras y las vaquitas son ajenas y el hambre es propia” (“When the land and the cattle are somebody else’s, but hunger belongs to us”). An international report has found that 80% of those suffering from hunger live in the countryside. Argentina serves as a model for land concentration.

10. France: Frère des Hommes
1. The local Frères des Hommes group in Vire (Normandy) is putting on Sebastião Salgado’s exhibition “Terra” from 18 April to 27 May to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the Eldorado dos Carajas massacre (also a Brazilian party on 13 May).
2. The local Frères des Hommes group in Tours planted its traditional field of potatoes on 17 April. It is also putting on the exhibition “Terra” about peasant struggles in Brazil.
3. The local Frères des Hommes group in Bordeaux is organising debates and video showings in hommage to the victims of the Eldorado dos Carajas killings.(vdm@fdh.org)

11. USA: The Border Agricultural Worker Project in Texas is organising the following mobilizations:
April 10: Migrant mobilizations in various US cities. There will also be a march in Juarez, Mexico, which is linked in with this, but also commemorates the death of Emiliano Zapata on 1919).
April 17: Farm workers and students protest at the border in response to the appeal by La Vía Campesina and as a continuation of the migrant mobilizations.
May 1: National mobilization (“A Day Without Immigrants”)
(Carlos Marentes : marentes@farmworkers.org)

12. Argentina: MOCASE (Movimiento Campesino de Santiago de Montero) is organising a day of discussion and entertainment in conjunction with the radio station 88.7 FM Del Monte on April 17. On April 16, various community events will be organised in the farmers’ communities, such as an educational day for the whole community, resistance to the bulldozers in support of food sovereignty and integral agrarian reform. (sachaioj@uolsinectis.com.ar)

13. Catalonia: The Barcelona MST support group is organising various activities around April 17. As April 17 is a holiday in Catalonia, the activities will be held on Saturday 22 and during the following week to make the most of the fact that several members of La Vía Campesina will be in Barcelona.
(Gloria Casaldaliga: glocari8@yahoo.es)

14. Ecuador: Within the framework of the Days for Continental Mobilisation and Reflection and on the International Day for the Peasants’ Cause, The CNC (Coordinadora Nacional Campesina) is organizing a Seed Fair in defence of food safety and sovereignty, and a forum to debate “The Challenges of the Peasant Movement Facing Globalization”. These activities are taking place in the city of Cuenca.(cnc@riseup.net)

15. Spain: The Madrid MST support group is joining in with a march involving several other collectives and organizations. The idea of Earth Day is to organise a Demo of Demos, where each of the participants would have a placard bearing their own demands and also the joint slogan “Let’s Stop Climate Change”. The MST group will be representing the farmers’ demands during this event. It, too, will be held on April 22 because April 17 is a holiday. (komitedeapoyo@mstmadrid.org)

16. Indonesia: on 17th of April FSPI is organising the National Rice Harvesting Ceremony. The celebration will take place in the middle of paddy field and the peasant will organise cultural activities and speeches before harvesting the rice to show that national production of rice is self-sufficient and that there is no need to import rice as insisted upon by the WTO. (fspi@fspi.or.id and website www.fspi.or.id)

17. India: KRRS will organise the International Seed Carnival on 17 of April to inaugurate a peasant-managed seed bank. On 18-19 of April there will be an International Symposium on Seeds and Bio-Technology in Agriculture in Mysore, India (amritabhoomi@yahoo.co.in. Ph:0091-80-28604737 and Fax:0091-80-28604640.Visit us also at www.amritabhoomi.org)

18. Venezuela: Venezuelan peasants from the Frente Nacional campesino Ezequiel Zamora (FNCEZ) and Brazilian peasants from the Movimiento de los Sin Tierra (MST) will mobilize jointly in Caracas today, 17 April, the International Day for the Peasants’ Cause, in front of the Brazilian Embassy headquarters in Venezuela to protest against the impunity widely enjoyed by criminals in Venezuela.

19. Bangladesh: Thank so much. In Bangladesh we are going to celebrate 17th of April in Satkheera district in the south-western part of Bangladesh where the Bangladesh Krishok Federation has carried out a massive and successful land occupation, and where one peasant women’s leader named Zaida was brutally killed by the police in 1998. (gip@dhaka.net)

20. Italy: The national association of the friends of MST in Italy in collaboration with other organisations is organising various activities from April 17 to May 3 on the issue “Eldorado, 10 Years of Impunity” and as a show of solidarity with MST. They handed over a letter to the Brazilian ambassador in Rome and organised meetings and activities in the following cities: Rome, Perugia, Modena, Trento, Florence, Milan, Monza, Cesenatico, Ceremona, Padova, Pordenone, Parma. (md1042@mclink.it)

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17 April 2006
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