Stora Enso press release (5 March 2008):
On Tuesday morning 4 March Stora Enso’s plantation in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul was invaded by around 800 protesters, most of whom were women. According to the invaders, the occupation was part of a series of actions planned against the agricultural sector within the days leading up to International Women’s Day. The invasion ended in the afternoon of the same day.
The protesters accused Stora Enso of operating illegally in the region claiming that Brazilian law forbids foreign companies from owning land within 150 kilometres of the country’s borders.
Stora Enso has been purchasing lands in the border zone of Brazil. According to Brazilian law this land may be purchased and owned by foreign companies, but there is a specific approval process for foreign entities. Until this approval procedure is completed and to protect Stora Enso’s land acquisitions, a Brazilian-owned company, Azenglever Agropecuária Ltd was formed to hold the land until proper authorization is given. The company is registered to the company register in Brazil. All the relevant authorities were informed about this temporary arrangement.
Stora Enso made the court aware of the invasion and requested the competent authorities to take legal actions in order to remove the invaders in a peaceful way.
For further information, please contact:
Nils Grafström, Head of Stora Enso Latin America, tel +55 11 81759283
Kari Vainio, EVP, Corporate Communications, tel. +44 7799 348 197
Eija Pitkänen, Head of Sustainability, tel. +358 2046 21348
The protesters were violently evicted by police using rubber bullets. 50 women were injured.