MAC: Mines and Communities

Peruvian Police Use Violence Against Striking Doe Run Workers

Published by MAC on 2007-04-04

Peruvian Police Use Violence Against Striking Doe Run Workers
La Oroya City Government and Population Back Workers
-- For immediate release –

April 4, 2007, La Oroya, Peru – Doe Run Peru (DRP) workers and community-based groups across the city began a province-wide protest at midnight with the support of the local municipal officials. When workers and other demonstrators attempted to block the highway to La Oroya, the police prevented them from doing so, according to Movement for Health of La Oroya (MOSAO in Spanish) vice-president Miguel Curi.

Police officials sent from Lima and Huancayo used tear gas and brute force to disperse protesters who were blocking the highway that connects Lima to the central Andes.

The President of La Oroya’s Community Council, Carlos Callupe, said the police held several demonstrators in custody. In Marcavalle (a barrio of La Oroya), police shot tear gas canisters into houses where women and children were forced outside into the cold in the middle of the night. The hospital reports that 8 people were seen for contusions and tear gas inhalation following the police counter protest operations.

DRP worker Pedro Cordoba observed that there were hundreds of workers and citizens that returned to block the highway again after the first group was driven from their strategic position. The demonstrators’ response signifies a clear rejection of the police intervention and of the business proposals of Doe Run executives.

“We have been used by DRP to increase profits, and they don’t even listen to our plight. We are not “the metallurgical capital of the Peru”; we are a God-forsaken town to the authorities,” said Cordoba.

In 2006 DRP produced approximately 59, 000 metric tons of copper, 41,000 tons of zinc, and 120,000 tons of lead, generating net profits of $120 million in 2006, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Peruvian law requires Doe Run Peru pay its workers 10% of its net profits.

Miguel Curi said that DRP workers are being backed by prominent organizations such as that MOSAO, the Homeowners Association, the Community Council, and the Committee to Defend of Old La Oroya. The position suggests a strategic approach to provide a broad-based response to the under-regulated Peruvian mining industry.

This is only the second time MOSAO has joined with DRP workers. In 2003, MOSAO defended DRP worlkers who were illegally fired by the Company. The company was obligated to rehire the workers. Increasingly, workers are voicing concerns about Doe Run’s disregard for their families’ health. MOSAO cites numerous violations of the emissions standards of the Peruvian Environmental Mitigation Agreement (PAMA).

Carlos Callupe, of the Community Council of La Oroya, indicated that the community of La Oroya agrees that the primary concern is health, especially job-related health. The Blacksmith Institute name La Oroya one of the most contaminated cities in the world in 2006.

Movimiento por la Salud de La Oroya/MOSAO y Mesa Técnica

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