The Peruvian military attacked unarmed Indigenous protesters in Bagua Chica, in the northern Amazon region. The attack which included snipers and helicopters started early last Friday until late Saturday. (Photo: © Enlace Nacional & Catapa)
As a result of an almost total media blackout, unconfirmed casualty reports from the area have ranged from 38 civilians and 10 police to 100 civilians and 22 police dead.
On April 9, an "indefinite strike" began throughout the Amazon region to protest the Peruvian Congress' failure to review six government decrees that are identified by local leaders as endangering the rights of Indigenous Peoples. These decrees were issued by Peruvian President Alan García Pérez and relate to the implementation of Free Trade Agreements signed with the United States and Canada. Opposed by Indigenous Peoples, the legislation paves the way for oil, mineral, and agricultural exploitation in the ecologically sensitive region.
Following an international Indigenous Peoples summit held in Puno, Peru last week, the Coordinating Body of Andean Indigenous Organizations (CAOI) issued a call for an “international denunciation” of President García Pérez and his administration for the “bloody repression of Indigenous Peoples in the Peruvian Amazon”. The CAOI has called upon indigenous organizations, social movements and human rights organizations around the world to take concrete action by sending letters to the Peruvian government, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples and other relevant parties to demand an end to the violence and respect for indigenous rights.
A coalition of indigenous, human rights and environmental organizations are urging the Garcia Government to step down and cease violent confrontations by the military.
AIDESEP, the national indigenous organization of Peru has called for a nationwide general strike starting June 11th. Emergency solidarity demonstrations are being scheduled at Peruvian Embassies around the world to coincide with the national actions. For additional information visit the Amazon Watch and AIDESEP websites.