Brazil activists invade plantation of paper and pulp maker

Hundreds of landless farm workers briefly overran a eucalyptus plantation owned by one of Brazil's largest paper and pulp manufacturers, police said Wednesday. Police commander Paulo Mendes Roberto Rodrigues said some 200 activists occupied the Santa Maria eucalyptus plantation owned by Votorantim Celulose e Papel SA in Rio Grande do Sul state. He said the occupation began early Wednesday morning and ended peacefully within a few hours when the protesters abandoned the plantation after being surrounded by police. Votorantim spokesman Rodrigo Bueno confirmed the occupation and the peaceful eviction, but said that only 60 activists had invaded the property. On Tuesday, thousands of rural workers invaded dams, railways, plantations and corporate headquarters in protests across 13 Brazilian states. The Via Campesina activist group spearheaded Monday's and Tuesday's invasions. In a statement, the group said it was protesting multinationals and agribusiness corporations that it says are to blame for rising food prices.