SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Small gold miners that have been working on illegal pits in the Amazon rainforest blocked an important road for grains transportation in Brazil’s Para state on Monday, protesting a crackdown by the government, police said.
The miners, mostly habitants of Moraes Almeida, a district in the Itaituba municipality that is at the center of an environmental crisis due to widespread fires in the forests surrounding it, blocked the BR-163 federal road. The road is used by commodities traders to transport soybeans and corn from Mato Grosso farms to a port at the Tapajós river in Para.
“There was a total obstruction on the road at km 411, leading to traffic congestion in both ways,” said the federal police, answering a request for comment from Reuters.
The police said miners were protesting recent raids from Brazil’s environmental defense teams that led to seizure and destruction of equipment found in protected areas inside the forests, where mining activity was going on.