‘Amazonia, you beauty!’ How the murders of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira renewed the fight for Brazil’s forests

Six months on, is something positive coming from the killings that shocked the world?

Sunday 5 June started peacefully for Dom Phillips. The British journalist was in the rainforest on a reporting trip for his book, How to Save the Amazon. Just after dawn he got in a small launch with his friend and guide, Bruno Pereira, and they travelled up the Itaquaí River, only the sound of the birds and the motor breaking the comforting silence. But then they were ambushed and both men were shot dead. The killers, angry at Pereira for trying to stop their illegal fishing racket, dragged their bodies into the forest and buried them.

The murders hit headlines around the world and shone a light on a region where violence has soared since rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro took power on 1 January 2019. After a slow response, Brazilian police, with the considerable assistance of the Indigenous local people, took action and three people are in jail awaiting trial for the killings. Another man identified as the possible intellectual author of the crime was released from custody in October and is under house arrest.

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