On 24 May 2017, ten rural workers were killed in the municipality of Pau d’Arco, in Pará state during a combined operation by the military and civil police. The action took place at the Santa Lúcia ranch, which had once again been occupied by landless people. The families are fighting for the land to be redistributed under the agrarian reform programme.
Among the dead was Jane Júlia de Oliveira, leader of the camp and the only woman murdered that day. Jane Júlia de Oliveira had suggested that the group stay where they were. She believed the police would not come looking for them in the rain, but she was wrong.
According to a witness: “As the group stood under a tarpaulin waiting for the rain to stop the police arrived shooting as they ran and shouting that everyone was going to die. I ran away but she sat there. I do not know if they killed her sitting down, I just remember they were saying: get up to die old bastard, old slut, bitch. Then they smiled and shot her.”
Although little is known about who Jane was, it is clear that her guidance was a source of hope for a beleaguered community. Her strength and commitment will not be forgotten.