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Landless Protesters Briefly Invade Brazil's Congress Building


Hundreds of landless farm workers in Brazil briefly invaded the lower house of parliament Tuesday, ransacking part of the building and clashing with security guards.

More than 20 people were injured, at least one of them seriously.

The incident began when landless protesters arrived at the Congress building in the capital, Brasilia, demanding the government speed up the redistribution of unproductive land.

Protest organizers say they wanted to present their demands peacefully to congressional leaders, but accused security guards of blocking their way and attacking the demonstrators.

The protesters then broke through the glass entrance of the Congress, using sticks and stones to smash windows, computers and furniture inside. They left the building an hour later after the president of the lower chamber (Aldo Rebelo) called the army to help re-establish order.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's office condemned the break-in as an act of vandalism.

The protesters belong to a radical group known as the Movement for the Liberation of the Landless (MLST), a breakaway faction of a larger group called the Landless Workers' Movement.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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