Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday that the actions of peasant protestors who had invaded the country's legislature on Tuesday were "vandalism" rather than legitimate democratic protest.
"What we saw yesterday was not a legitimate democratic act. It was... vandalism," Lula said at the presidential palace. "Those people crossed the line... of public discourse."
Despite the strong remarks, he stopped short of blaming Bruno Maranhao, leader of the Landless Liberation Movement (MLST) and also a senior member of Lula's Workers Party (PT).
Also on Wednesday, the PT suspended Maranhao, who is the national secretary for people's movements, and said they had sent his case to the party's ethics committee.
Hundreds of landless farmers armed with sticks and stones invaded Brazil's Congress on Tuesday, smashing windows and furniture to demand agrarian reform.
Meanwhile, some 300 members of the MLST, waved flags and held up banners saying "Stop Criminalizing Social Movements."
Tuesday's protest was the second undertaken in protest at delays to an 800-million-U.S.-dollar land reform bill. Last year, MLST members invaded Brazil's Treasury to demand the passing of the measure.