Activists decry French retailer over Amazon deforestation

PARIS -- Representatives of Brazil's Indigenous community and environmental groups are protesting outside Paris' main courthouse on Thursday.

Activists decry French retailer over Amazon deforestation

PARIS -- Representatives of Brazil's Indigenous community and environmental groups are protesting outside Paris' main courthouse on Thursday. They demand a speedy trial for a French supermarket chain that is accused of selling beef in connection to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and land grabs.

This month, several prominent Indigenous representatives will be in Paris and Brussels to protest international threats to their territories. They also want to draw attention to the cattle farming practices in Amazonia.

Last year, climate groups and Indigenous activists sued France's Casino Group. They claimed that the casino group, which owns supermarkets all over the globe, violates human rights and other environmental regulations. According to the company, it "fights against deforestation related to cattle raising in Brazil or Colombia." A hearing will be held Thursday to determine a date for trial.

The lawsuit against Casino Group was filed by the Indigenous Movement to hold someone responsible for purchasing cattle that they claim was raised illegally on their territory. Activists warn that President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right Brazilian politician, is further threatening the indigenous lands.

Bolsonaro repeatedly stated that Indigenous peoples are too land-hungry since he took office in 2019. He also said he would revise demarcations despite the fact that such a move is prohibited by law.

Brazil's Amazon is a major driver of deforestation, and levels reached record heights in April. According to satellite alerts, more than 1,000 hectares (or nearly 400 miles) of forest were cleared in April. According to MapBiomas (a network of universities, non-profits and tech startups), the biome contains approximately 57 million hectares (14.8 million acres) of pasture. This area is slightly larger than France.

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Fabiano Maisonnave in Rio de Janeiro contributed.

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Associated Press's climate and environment coverage is supported by several private foundations. Learn more about the AP's climate initiative. All content is the sole responsibility of the AP.

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