RIO DE JANEIRO — Indigenous groups across Brazil are protesting a proposal to transfer indigenous health services from the federal government to municipalities.
Hundreds of demonstrators in traditional garb and body paint danced and prayed at a protest in Sao Paulo. Wednesday morning, a group entered the building and were pepper-sprayed, according to a community leader. They did a ritual dance in the entryway before going back outside. Other protests were held across Brazil.
Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta last week discussed closing the federal indigenous health office. Indigenous leaders say the specialized agency can attend them in indigenous languages, which municipalities can’t.
President Jair Bolsonaro has said he thinks indigenous people are just like any other Brazilians and should not be treated differently and “maintained on reserves like animals in a zoo.”