Protests in Peru Over "Oil Laws" Leave Dozens Dead

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Protestors demand Peruvian President Garcia's resignation following deadly clashes between Amazon indigenous groups and security forces in Bagua © AFP/Getty Images

Protestors demand Peruvian President Garcia's resignation after deadly clashes between Amazon indigenous groups and security forces © AFP/Getty Images

Peru’s Congress temporarily suspended two Amazon investment laws – dubbed the “Law of the Jungle” – that triggered violent clashes that left at least 30 protesters and 24 people police officers dead last weekend. The controversial laws made oil drilling, mining and logging – including on indigenous land – much more accessible for corporations.

Indigenous protesters say that the laws, being passed in part to comply with a trade agreement with the U.S., weaken their rights to land they have inhabited for hundreds of years.  One of the laws removed more than 170,000 square miles of Peruvian jungle from the government’s list of protected lands.

The situation continues to be volatile and the human rights of injured and detained protestors remain under attack.  On June 5, the National Police forcibly removed Indigenous protesters who had blocked the approach road to the town of Bagua.  At least 30 protesters and 24 police officers were left dead, as well as over 200 people injured, including 31 police officers, as a result of this action.  And the number of protesters killed is feared to be higher still.

According to local sources, some of the protesters who have been injured are not receiving adequate medical care since local health centers are not well equipped. And at least 79 demonstrators, including several minors, have been taken into police and army custody. It is unclear how they are being treated, what they have been charged with, and whether they have access to medical care or legal assistance.  Amnesty International is demanding protection for protestors.

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8 thoughts on “Protests in Peru Over "Oil Laws" Leave Dozens Dead

  1. I have been hearing many reports that the Peruvian police are removing, dumping, or burning the bodies of the dead to deflate casualty statistics. Do you know how verifiable this is? The source I read claimed it had spoken to a wide variety of protesters, onlookers, clergy, and hospital workers.

    If so, this is horrifying.

  2. I have been hearing many reports that the Peruvian police are removing, dumping, or burning the bodies of the dead to deflate casualty statistics. Do you know how verifiable this is? The source I read claimed it had spoken to a wide variety of protesters, onlookers, clergy, and hospital workers.

    If so, this is horrifying.

  3. we say no to violence and hostility against the people regardless of Peru or iran. all together, we show solidarity

  4. we say no to violence and hostility against the people regardless of Peru or iran. all together, we show solidarity

  5. Thank you Amnesty for demanding protection for the protesting Native Peoples.

    Support the indigenous struggle for their own, ancestral lands.

    Those 2 laws allowing the destruction of these lands must be SCRAPPED, not suspended.

    And if there's any residue of checks or balance in this threadbare system, Garcia must go after such a major explosion !!!

    The army & police must immediately free all imprisoned protestors.

    What Rob fears is happening, the police destroying protestors' bodies, is very likely considering the history of the Indian americas.

    The solidarity of Zoya & all such real sisters & brothers is crucial now. Thank you all !!

  6. Thank you Amnesty for demanding protection for the protesting Native Peoples.

    Support the indigenous struggle for their own, ancestral lands.

    Those 2 laws allowing the destruction of these lands must be SCRAPPED, not suspended.

    And if there’s any residue of checks or balance in this threadbare system, Garcia must go after such a major explosion !!!

    The army & police must immediately free all imprisoned protestors.

    What Rob fears is happening, the police destroying protestors’ bodies, is very likely considering the history of the Indian americas.

    The solidarity of Zoya & all such real sisters & brothers is crucial now. Thank you all !!

  7. From AIUSA's Country Specialist on Peru: The reports Rob mentions appeared in various websites immediately after the violence erupted and the tragedy ensued. They have not been confirmed by independent sources. The news at that time were confusing and inaccurate. For example, La Republica, a national newspaper, had reported the death in the town of Bagua of Santiago Manuin, a well known environmental and human rights indigenous leader in the town of Bagua. Days later it had to retract the story. Manuin was gravely injured but alive nonetheless at a hospital.

  8. From AIUSA’s Country Specialist on Peru: The reports Rob mentions appeared in various websites immediately after the violence erupted and the tragedy ensued. They have not been confirmed by independent sources. The news at that time were confusing and inaccurate. For example, La Republica, a national newspaper, had reported the death in the town of Bagua of Santiago Manuin, a well known environmental and human rights indigenous leader in the town of Bagua. Days later it had to retract the story. Manuin was gravely injured but alive nonetheless at a hospital.