Farmworkers Seize Land in Massive Honduras Protest

Plantations are on public land, activists say

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 19, 2012 3:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – Honduras saw its own kind of Occupy protest erupt yesterday. Thousands of impoverished farmworkers in the Central American nation took over land belonging to major landowners in a coordinated series of protests around the country, reports the BBC. The farmworkers insisted that the land was public land that small farmers can legally grow crops on under Honduran law, while the plantation owners said they had legally bought the land from the government.

Around 30,000 acres were seized across the country. Some 1,500 farmworkers peacefully left a sugar plantation after police and soldiers arrived but other occupations continued overnight, reports the AP. 'We want to avoid any type of confrontation," said a spokeswoman for the Via Campesina—"Peasants' Way"—activist group, adding that the farmworkers were unarmed. Dozens of farmworkers have died in land disputes in Honduras in recent years and activists want the government to open a national dialogue on land reform.

Riot squad officers stand guard as rural workers  vacate a plot of land they had occupied earlier in the day in San Manuel, north of Tegucigalpa.
Riot squad officers stand guard as rural workers vacate a plot of land they had occupied earlier in the day in San Manuel, north of Tegucigalpa.   (Getty Images)
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