Peru: police fire on Cajamarca protesters —again

National Police troops in Peru’s Cajamarca region opened fire July 6 on campesinos attempting to attend the public presentation of an environmental impact statement on the Chadín II hydro-electric project at the highland town of Celendín, witnesses said. According to a statement from the group Tierra y Libertad, nine were wounded when the troops fired on the opponents of the project who were trying to gain access to the public building where the meeting was being held. Marle Libaque Tasilla, a leader of the local ronda, or peasant self-defense patrol, and an organizer for Tierra y Libertad, said that among the injured is the noted Peruvian environmentalist Nicanor Alvarado Carrasco.

The Chadín II project is conceived to speed the development of mining projects in Cajamarca, and is slated to provide energy to the Yanacocha company which is developing the controversial Conga project. Thousands of local residents stand to be displaced by the Chadín II project, which would flood some 3,000 hectares along the Río Marañon, a major tributary of the Amazon. Protests against the hydro project were held in the affected communities late last year. (Tierra y Libertad via Kaos en La Red, July 7; NoticiasSER, Dec. 12)

The shooting incident occurred three days after Celendín held official commemorations for the five campesinos killed by National Police last July during protests against the Conga project. A special mass was held at Celendín’s church, followed by a public procession to the cemetery where the martyrs lie bured. (Celendin Libre, July 4)

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