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Brazilian Indians clash with police outside Congress during protest of land demarcation bill

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SAO PAULO — The lower house of the Brazilian Congress says that about 30 Indians armed with bows and arrows tried to break into the chamber of deputies but police and security personnel held them at bay with pepper spray.

PHOTO: A police officer pushes an indigenous woman away from the entrance to the Chamber of Deputies where lawmakers are debating the authority to demarcate indigenous lands at Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Brazil's indigenous don't agree with a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to decide their ancestral land's legal borders, in place of the Ministry of Justice with whom negotiations had started years ago. Brazilians are legally allowed to watch lawmakers' debate, but police at the scene said they didn't allow a group of indigenous to enter on suspicion they would interrupt the debate. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A police officer pushes an indigenous woman away from the entrance to the Chamber of Deputies where lawmakers are debating the authority to demarcate indigenous lands at Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Brazil's indigenous don't agree with a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to decide their ancestral land's legal borders, in place of the Ministry of Justice with whom negotiations had started years ago. Brazilians are legally allowed to watch lawmakers' debate, but police at the scene said they didn't allow a group of indigenous to enter on suspicion they would interrupt the debate. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Four police officers suffered light injuries during Tuesday's brief confrontation. The Chamber of Deputies press office says a police officer escaped injury when an arrow struck his boot.

The Indians were protesting a bill that would give Congress the authority to demarcate indigenous territory. That authority currently resides with the executive branch.

Indians and other opponents of the bill say it would give more power to large landowners and mining and lumber companies that operate in the Amazon region where most of Brazil's indigenous population resides.

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