Rubber tappers protest against nuclear tests

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Rubber tappers protest against nuclear tests

BRASILIA — Around 300 rubber tappers and workers from the Brazilian rainforest protested on July 25 at the French embassy against the resuming of nuclear tests.

The demonstrators brought a letter to the French ambassador, Philippe Lecourtier, demanding that the French government gives up the explosions at Moruroa and condemning the violence of the French Navy against the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior.

Coming from seven states of the Amazon, the rubber tappers held a banner reading "Amazon hugs Moruroa — Stop the Destruction". Greenpeace activists held a banner reading, "Stop Nuclear Tests: Moruroa is Here".

The workers from the rainforest were in Brasilia attending a rubber tappers' national meeting, at which they announced the creation of the Centre of Studies of the Amazon. The political movement of the rubber tappers and their fight for the forest became very strong under the leadership of Chico Mendes, who was killed by farmers in 1988.

The letter to the French ambassador was signed by the president of the National Council of the Rubber Tappers, Atanagildo de Matos. "Each year a huge amount of resources is wasted with nuclear weapons, when it could be used against misery and environmental destruction", said de Matos.