Hundreds of Brazilian protesters ended a blockade of a railway line that transports iron ore for mining company Vale
It was the latest in a series of protests this week, some of them violent, by landless peasant groups targeting large companies and multinationals in Brazil.
Protesters left peacefully after the Minas Gerais state's justice department ordered them to leave the tracks earlier on Thursday or risk being removed by police or fined 30,000 reais ($18,000) for every day they remained, Vale said in a note.
It started around 6 a.m. this morning, a Vale spokeswoman said, adding more than 30 trains were delayed in the 10 hours that protesters had stopped traffic on the railway.
Trains on the line each carry around 14,000 tonnes of ore from the company's network of mines in the state to ports but Vale could not immediately confirm how many were transporting the commodity. It said around 70 trains a day carry iron ore and other cargo down the line.
One passenger train was stopped by the protest as well as trains carrying goods for other firms, Vale said.
The Via Campesina peasant movement said about 1,500 people were occupying the railway to pressure Vale to negotiate with 500 families who will be dislodged by the construction of a hydro-electric dam in which the company is involved.
Protesters occupied properties of industrial conglomerate Votorantim and a supermarket belonging to the Wal-Mart
The peasant groups are demonstrating against the advance of one-crop farms they say harm the environment and small farmers. They are also protesting high food prices, the growing use of biofuels and the influence of multinational companies in Brazil.
Via Campesina said in a statement it was holding another protest in front of Goias state's electricity company over price increases. (Reporting by Peter Murphy and Reese Ewing; Editing by Kieran Murray)
(c) Reuters 2008. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.