MAC: Mines and Communities

Peruvian President outlaws protests

Published by MAC on 2005-08-22

Peruvian President outlaws protests

Monday, August 22, 2005

Peruvian president, Alejandro Toledo, announced the implementation of a "national security plan" to counteract the recent peasant mobilizations against transnational mining corporations.

Toledo stated the protests that have taken place in the past weeks were "politically motivated", and that he will not allow "anyone to interfere in the investment and creation of new jobs".

He added it is necessary to apply a "heavy hand" and accused the organizations that took part in the mobilizations, of preventing the country's development.

The Executive Branch submitted a bill last week that provides up to 6-year prison sentences for carrying heavy objects or blocking national roads during protests.

The National Confederation of Communities Affected by Mining (CONACAMI), the main promoter of the mobilizations, denounced the "continuing political persecution" of the Peruvian government against its leaders.

A release issued by the Confederation a few days ago, states that there is a national plan to "destabilize" the organization, and highlights that a provincial attorney filed a denounce against the president of the Confederation, Miguel Palacín Quispe, for considering him "responsible" for the protests.

"It is quite paradoxical that the Attorney General acts in favor of the corporations, instead of doing something when indigenous peoples are being threatened, and their rights are being violated", concludes the release.

Mobilizations began this month as a result of a conflict between Piura department, to the north of the country, and the British mining corporation Majaz, which they accuse of causing severe environmental damage and of damaging agriculture.

The protest led to the violent occupation of the minig camp, during which a demonstrator died and over 30 people were arrested.

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