As the giant Mother Earth flag from Cajamarca arrived in Peru’s capital of Lima on July 12, a demonstration of some 1,000 construction workers with the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP) marched in solidarity with the struggle against the Conga gold mine project—as well their own demands of better pay and working conditions. In reference to the protesters killed in Cajamarca, marchers carried signs reading “¡Ni un muerto más, Sr. Humala!” (Not one more death, Mr. [President Ollanta] Humala!). The demonstration was addressed by lawmakers Rosa Mavila, Javier Diez Canseco, Jorge Rimarachín and Lima council member Marissa Glave. After the rally in Lima’s Plaza San Martín, the moment there to the liberator José de San Martín was spray-painted with graffiti against the Conga project. The CGTP said this was done by young students, not unionists, and a volunteer crew of workers scrubbed the statue clean. The rally saw a brief clash between National Police in full riot gear and student protesters.
Hundreds of CGTP unionists and local campesinos also marched in the southern city of Puno to oppose the Conga project, and a 24-hour paro (strike) was declared there. On the previous day, a rally was held in Trujillo, the first stop on the Mother Earth flag’s tour of Peru. (Servindi, July 13; Reuters, El Comercio, Celendín Libre, Pachamama Radio, Pachamama Radio, Servindi, July 12)
In Cajamarca, where a state of emergency remains in force in three provinces (Cajamarca, Hualgayoc and Celendín), an indefinite paro continues—now most universally observed in the towns of Bambamarca (provincial seat of Hualgayoc) and Celendín, where five protesters were killed by the National Police last week. Businesses were closed, and residents held marches in defiance of the state of emergency, with National Police looking on.
In Cajamarca city, a large march was held in the Plaza de Armas in defiance of the state of emergency, followed by a protest Catholic mass at the church of San Francisco that overlooks the square. National Police troops surrounded the plaza, but did not interfere. The protest mass was presided over by Father Francisco Centurión and attended by regional president Gregorio Santos, the church’s former priest and now protest leader Marco Arana, local CGTP leader Carmela Sifuentes, local teachers’ union SUTEP leader Noemí López Chegne, and Cajamarca Defense Front president Idelso Hernández. (Caballero Verde, Panamericano, July 12)
See our last post on the struggle in Peru.