Indigenous protest in Brazil / Arrest of pro-independence politicians in Hong Kong / French presidential election

21 to 27 April

Indigenous activists protest in Brasilia.
Indigenous activists protest in Brasilia. Author: Mobilizaçao Nacional Indígena
WEEKLY ROUNDUP. French voters prepare themselves to elect the country’s next president in a 6 May runoff between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far right Marine Le Pen. The first round has left some interesting differences in votes as regards territories and diversity. This week’s roundup also includes some Indigenous news in the Americas, ranging from a new wave of murders in Colombia to a thousands-strong protest in Brazil. Information on two pro-independence former MPs in Hong Kong, who have been arrested for some hours, can also be found.


Macron wins first round in French presidential race. Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron (En Marche!) has received the most votes in the first round of the presidential election in France. Significant differences in relation to the support received by candidates in France’s stateless nations have arisen. In Brittany and central areas of Occitania, Macron has enjoyed more support than his French-wide average. Also in Brittany, anti-capitalist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has placed himself second, leading Marine Le Pen. Mélenchon has received the most votes in Guiana, Martinique and Reunion, and has taken second place in many Occitan departments. Le Pen, however, has led the count on Occitania’s Mediterranean, as well as in Northern Catalonia, Alsace and Corsica.


Indigenous protest in Brasilia. The Brazilian capital has witnessed several demonstrations in favour of the demarcation of Indigenous lands. Several thousand Indigenous demonstrators have taken part in the protest, under the 14th Free Land Camp. During the protest, Indigenous people tried to enter the Congress building, and some of them were dispersed by the police, which claimed it had been attacked with arrows. By contrast, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil has argued that the police had “irked” and “repressed” them. The Indigenous women’s struggle was also discussed within the popular mobilization.

Indigenous leader Agustín Wachapá released from detention. The activist for the rights of the Shuar people and the preservation of the Amazon in Ecuador has been freed after four months of imprisonment. Wachapá had been arrested on 21 December 2016 following violent incidents. The Shuar movement and Indigenous organization CONAIE considered him a political prisoner. CONAIE has asked Ecuadoran authorities to stop the trial against him and an amnesty for “all criminalized and politically persecuted [Indigenous activists] in Ecuador”.

Kamel Eddine Fekhar ends hunger strike. The Mozabite (from Mzab, an Amazigh-majority territory in Algeria) activist, imprisoned since 2015, has stopped his protest after 109 days. Amazigh intellectuals and activists had repeatedly asked Fekhar to stop the strike, as he risked dying. Fekhar has said he will continue his fight against the “ethnic and racist regime” in Algiers.

Czech Republic recognizes Armenian genocide. The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament has approved a resolution in which it condemns the holocaust of Armenians “and other ethnic groups” under the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. This has taken place in the same week in which the 102 anniversary of the beginning of the genocide —which killed some 1.5 million Armenians— has been marked.

New wave of Indigenous killings in Colombia denounced. Six Indigenous activists were killed in a week until 20 April in the South American country. Amnesty International issued a statement on 21 April in which the rights group claimed the killings “raise serious doubts about the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the government to advance the peace process in Colombia.” Murders of Indigenous leaders are common in Colombia and other Central and South American countries.

Pro-independence former elected MPs arrested in Hong Kong. As part of a police investigation, Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-Ching have been detained for a few hours, and subsequently released. Yau has said that “the government’s regime will do whatever it takes to destroy and wipe out Hong Kong’s cries for self-determination.” The incident coincided with the arrest, in the same week, of nine pro-democracy activists, also in Hong Kong. The two elected MPs were last year prevented from taking up their seats in Hong Kong’s legislature after having used an unofficial oath formula, and having used derogatory words in referring to China.