Cuzco: unrest over water mega-diversion

In a popular assembly Nov. 6, residents of Espinar village in Peru's Cuzco region declared themselves on a "war footing," pledigng to resist imminent construction of the Majes Siguas II irrigation mega-project, which would divert water from indigenous communities in the highlands to agribusiness interests on the coast. Profesor René Huamani Quirita, president of the Unified Defense Front for the Interests of Espinar Province, protested that hundreds of National Police troops have been stationed in the nearby community of Yauri, apparently in anticipation of protests. (Radio Universal, Cuzco, Nov. 6) Later that day, Espinar's mayor Oscar Mollohuanca announced that some 100 police troops had attacked local villagers at Urinsaya in Coporaque district, beating five. The whereabouts of one villager has been unknown since the attack, and Mollohuanca joined the missing campesino's family in demanding an urgent investigation. (Radio Universal, RPP, Nov. 6)

Espinar has also seen considerable unrest over a disputed mining project.

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