MAC: Mines and Communities

Chile-forty Four Arrested In Violent Removal Of Pascua Lama Blockade

Published by MAC on 2007-01-25
Source: OLCA Communications ()

CHILE

Forty Four Arrested In Violent Removal of Pascua Lama Blockade

News Release - OLCA Communications, Chile

25th January, 2007

More than 80 people peacefully closed the intersection of the roads to Chollay and Conay, in the community of Alto del Carmen, beginning the night of Monday, January 22. The objective of the action was to prevent the entrance of trucks and vehicles of the mining companies that operate there, specially of Barrick Gold "Responsible Mining" for the Pascua Lama project.

The blockade turned back all mining vehicles since this region does not have roads that are adequate for heavy machinery - a situation noted by the Chilean Environmental Commission (CONAMA), which prohibited this type of transport but does not enforce the prohibition.

While this action was undertaken in completely peaceful form, military police special forces arrived from Vallenar at 11am on January 25 to remove the blockaders, in a violent manner, with blows and struggles. 44 people were arrested, including Chilean, Spanish, French and Argentinean citizens. Some were handcuffed (among them Councilman Luis Faura) leaving behind only old people and children from the area.

The prisoners were transferred to Vallenar in 4 light trucks, 1 van, a military police bus, and a commercial bus. They were taken to the hospital to document their injuries at the hands of the police and then to the Third Commisariat of Vallenar. They are due to appear at a show cause hearing where the judge will let them know the charges they were detained for.

The organizations have declared that these actions will be continued in the future, as long as the Huasco Valley is threatened by mining.

For more information (Spanish only): Lucio Cuenca, OLCA Tel: 011 (56-2) 274-5713 http://www.olca.cl

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