A mob of about 3,000 people enraged by a crackdown on illegal logging trashed a government office in a remote jungle city and tried to attack environmental workers, authorities said Monday.
Environment Minister Carlos Minc said federal police should be sent to the northeastern town of Paragominas following the riot, which was prompted by the seizure of 14,000 cubic feet of wood believed to have been cut inside an Indian reservation.
Many residents of the Amazon deeply resent — and sometimes attack — environmental officials who try to block logging that provides income for rich and poor alike.
The mob invaded the offices of IBAMA, the federal environmental protection agency, on Sunday, destroying furniture and burning important paperwork, Minc said.
Then they allegedly used a tractor to try to invade a hotel where IBAMA workers were staying, but were repelled with tear gas by police. Minc's ministry said no one was injured.
Paragominas is about 90 miles from the small city of Tailandia, where a mob of 2,000 rioted over wood seizures in February, forcing environmental authorities to leave the city for days.
Minc said the new riot would not stop efforts to control illegal logging: "To the contrary, we're going to intensify operations and we'll punish those who are responsible."
The riot followed a seizure under Operation Black Trail, aimed at cracking down on production of charcoal with illegally logged wood.
IBAMA official Marco Antonio Vidal told Globo TV's G1 Web site that some of the protesters were wood company owners and logging truck drivers.