Peru: deadly repression of pipeline protests

The UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Sept. 2 issued a statement expressing "concern" about the "disproportionate use of force" against indigenous protesters in Peru. (Celendin Libre, AIDESEP, Sept. 2) The statement came the same day that a 16-year-old protester, Jhapet Claysont Huilca Pereira, was shot dead by National Police troops at Santa Teresa village in the Valley of La Convención, Cuzco region, during a protest against construction of the Gasoducto Sur Peruano through local lands. Protesters were blocking to road leading to the tourist attraction of Machu Picchu, charging corruption in the process by which the new gas duct gained a right-of-way through their lands. The parents of the fallen youth are demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Daniel Urresti Elera. Lawmaker Verónika Mendoza has also called on Urresti to give a full accounting of the incident, saying, "It is unacceptable that firearms are used in dealing with social conflicts." (La República, Sept. 4 La RepúblicaCelendin LibreCelendin Libre, Sept. 3)

Also Sept. 2, National Police troops used tear gas against protesters near the site of the Cerro Verde mine in Arequipa region. Residents of Uchumayo were angered when Cerro Verde closed the only road leading to their community to facilitate construction of a wastewater treatment plant for the planned mine. (Celendin Libre, Sept. 3; Voces de la Tierra. Sept. 2)

Four days earlier at Islay, also in Arequipa, hundreds of local residents blocked roads to protest the disputed Tía María mining project. Protesters charged that the project's environmental impact study had been conducted with "lack of respect" for local residents who would be impacted. (Servindi, Aug. 28)

  1. Peru: army puts down anti-mine protests

    Amid ongoing protests against the Tía María mine project in Arequipa region, Peru's government extended by another month the mission of a detachment of military troops to the area in mid-April. (Canal N, April 17) There was media outrage in Peru when protesters blocking a road near the mine site burned a commuter bus on May 7. (El Comercio, May 7) On May 9, a National Police officer was killed when he was hit in the head during a clash with protesters. (Capital, May 9)

    The Tierra y Libertad movement says it will conduct an investigation into a released audio clip in which its local adherant Pepe Julio Gutiérrez apparently said he would accept money to call off the protests against the Tía María project. (Canal N, May 8)