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Brazilian Indians occupy Congress to protest proposed constitutional amendment on land

About 700 Brazilian Indians are occupying part of the lower house of Congress to protest a proposed amendment that would give Congress a say in the demarcation of indigenous territory.

The Indians say they will not leave the offices of the Constitution and Justice Commission until the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Henrique Eduardo Alves, reverses his decision to form a commission to deal with the amendment.

The amendment is backed by the congressional caucus of rural property owners, which says the present demarcation system reduces their production possibilities.

The demarcation of Indian lands is currently done by Funai, the country's federal indigenous affairs agency.

Alves says he will suspend the naming of the commission and open negotiations if the Indians leave the premises. They have refused.