60 die in Peru rainforest protest
NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY

← BACK

60 die in Peru rainforest protest

Clashes between police and indigenous protesters over drilling for oil and gas in rain forest

Recent free trade agreements signed with the American and Canadian governments fueled the government to go ahead with changes to domestic laws that would seek to advance mineral, logging, oil and agricultural ‘development’ into previously untouched areas of the Amazon. This touched off a over-50-day protest that has shut down parts of the Amazon.

Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com


The in-depth interviews with knowledgeable people are a gold mine to those of us with questing minds who are determined to pursue the facts, wherever they may lead. - Jennifer Humiston
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

Up to 100 dead in Amazon clashes: activist

By ABC Australia News Online's Amy Simmons

 


Peru's Indigenous hold press conference

Many Peruvians - not just Indigenous - are upset by plans to open land in Peru's Amazon region to oil, gas and mineral exploration (User submitted: Ben Powless)

Up to 100 Amazon natives have been killed after Friday's military crackdown on protesters in Peru and the situation is expected to worsen, says a Canadian Indigenous rights activist.

Twenty-two-year-old Ben Powless is working alongside Peru's national organisation of Amazon Indigenous people, AIDESEP, and fears more lives will be lost, with the government now labelling protesters as "terrorists".

Many Peruvians - not just Indigenous - are upset by plans to open land in Peru's Amazon region to oil, gas and mineral exploration, even though much of the land is officially protected.

The Government has recently signed a number of free trade agreements with the United States and Canada, seeking to change domestic laws and encourage foreign investment in the Amazon.

The Government has declared a state of emergency in some Amazon regions, suspending constitutional rights in the areas.

Mr Powless says Government reports are portraying the situation incorrectly.

"What we've been hearing from some of the communities is that a lot of the death tolls and the number of people hurt or injured are dramatically different from the Government figures, which put it as low as three to nine Indigenous people who have been killed," he said.

"But we have heard from some representatives on the ground that there may be as many as 100 people murdered.

"There was an active attempt by the Government here to portray it as a massacre of policemen who went into an area and were killed on their job, when in reality, native participants were sitting in blockades early in the morning [on Friday] when the police attacked."

Mr Powless says the Government is controlling information on the unfolding events.

"There is a lack of information about what's going on," he said.

"A lot of reports aren't making it out of the communities, the Government has a near monopoly on being able to get their own message out about the situation and convene press conferences, and I have not been able to go into the Amazon region yet as the military has taken control and restricted access."

He says a group of Indigenous leaders in Lima, Peru's capital, are planning to go to the Amazon region on Tuesday - and Mr Powless intends to accompany them.

National strike

He says Friday and Saturday's deadly conflicts appear to have settled down, but more unrest is expected on Thursday when a national strike, called for by Indigenous organisations and unions, will be carried out.

"Today what we've been told is that some Indigenous groups have taken over one of the oil refineries as well as one of the airports in one of the regions," he said.

"The military is basically walking around armed, patrolling, just trying to keep people out of the streets.

"The situation seems pretty calm but if the strike is anything like in the past, it's been able to successfully shut down roads, restrict all access to Machu Picchu by train - which is the major cultural and tourist destination here - shut down airports, oil refineries and other major areas of transportation."

Mr Powless says strikers will call for the dismissal of Peruvian President Alan Garcia over his response to the crisis and urge him to take responsibility for the deaths that have occurred as a result of the heavy-handed military action.

Human rights abuses

In the long-term, he says the issue is one of Indigenous rights and liberties.

"The Indigenous groups here, especially in the Amazon region, are fearing for control of their livelihoods and really fighting for control of the land they have lived on, and that they have lived on forever," he said.

"Any development anywhere usually has to take into consideration the people who live there and who would be impacted - this is something that has been established by the United Nations and the recent UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

Ultimately, Mr Powless says achieving this would mean a renegotiation of the laws, which have been pushed through the Government without any oversight from the Indigenous people.

Indigenous 'terrorists'

However, Mr Powless says he is not optimistic, particularly due to Government attempts to paint Indigenous protesters as terrorists.

"In the context of a country that has been fighting an insurgent group for over 20 years now and they have a long history of dealing with what they consider terrorism in a very violent, militarised means, for them to start coming out and calling the Indigenous groups here terrorists seems to suggest that they're preparing to respond to them with more military means," he said.

"Without serious pressure coming nationally and internationally, letting the government know that they can't commit human rights abuses anymore, and without people saying that there needs to be negotiation and that they can't just go in with the military and stop people's legitimate protests, then I'm not really convinced that the Government is going to step down."

Mr Powless says this is the biggest incident the Peruvian Amazon has seen in the modern era.

Precis

Recent free trade agreements signed with the American and Canadian governments fueled the government to go ahead with changes to domestic laws that would seek to advance mineral, logging, oil and agricultural ‘development’ into previously untouched areas of the Amazon. This touched off a over-50-day protest that has shut down parts of the Amazon.

Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

Comments


Latest Stories


Bullock Trial Begins Friday
Sanders Lead: Why is He Silent on U.S. Foreign Policy?
Reaganism and Thatcherism were Intellectually Dishonest - Heiner Flassbeck on Reality Asserts Itself (1/5)
First Canadian Officer Convicted for Mass Arrests at 2010 G-20 Toronto Summit
What Would Happen to the Eurozone if Greece Leaves?
Katrina Victims Were Forced into Exile
National Day of Action Pushes Democratic Senators to Support Iran Deal
International Law and "The Responsibility to Protect" - Vijay Prashad on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
Days of Revolt: State Violence and Counter Violence
The Sky Is Not Falling? China's Stock Market Impact
Why is Saudi Arabia Now Supporting the Iran Deal?
The PLO's "Game of Musical Chairs"
GRITtv with Laura Flanders: New Orleans and the Economics of Recovery
Chelsea Manning, the Nuremberg Charter and Refusing to Collaborate with War Crimes - Vijay Prashad on Reality Asserts Itself (3/4)
A Fire In My Soul
Smoke and Mirrors of Corporate Buybacks Behind the Market Crash
Computer Voting and Stealing Democracy
Questioning the Underlying Structures of Property and Power is "Off the Table" - Vijay Prashad on Reality Asserts Itself (2/4)
AIPAC Spending Millions to Defeat Iran Deal, But Efforts Are Falling Flat
Sanders: Great White Hope or Hype?
Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
Decades of Relentless Austerity in Canada Could Defeat the Conservatives
Chicago Parents Launch Hunger-Strike for Community Input in School's Future
Athlete Turned Artist & Movement for Black Lives Conference
Marx and Tolstoy Helped Me See the Limits of Liberalism - Vijay Prashad on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
Greek Left Platform Creates New Popular Unity Party
Macedonian Police Clash With Refugees at Greek Border
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Tenders His Resignation
Former IAEA Inspector: Iranian "Self-Inspection" Won't Undermine Deal
ACLU: Illegal Pocomoke Meeting Should Void Chief's Firing

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting