RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Protesting Brazilian farmers occupied Wednesday the country's Agriculture Ministry in Brasilia to demand "global action on food sovereignty" as part of World Food Day celebrations.
Some 300 demonstrators from several Brazilian farming organizations gathered early in the day at the ministry's headquarters, to be joined later by another 2,000 protesters, calling for better conditions for farmers, land reform, the transformation of the agri-business sector and the rejection of the over-commercialization of agriculture.
As ministry staff began arriving for work, several scuffles took place with members of Brazil's Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), one of the farmer organizations, leading Military Police to intervene.
Zelindo Pereira, secretary of the National Confederation of Agriculture Workers (Contag), said his organization submitted a petition of demands to the government, and is negotiating a meeting between the two sides.
Pereira said farmers would occupy the ministry indefinitely, adding demonstrators were "prepared to stay in the building for a whole week."
More than 5,000 workers are waiting for a signal from labor leaders to rally in other parts of Brasilia, he said.
In recent months, Brazil's landless peasant farmers have staged several protests, citing that President Dilma Rousseff's government has "abandoned" the issue of land reform, the MST said in a statement.