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Nine More Police Killed in Amazon Protests in Peru

Another story to shatter the illusion that free trade policies provide amazing benefits and economic equality for everybody.

On a side note, it makes you wonder how any government could so openly exploit and damage the homeland of thousands and thousands of people without their consent – and somehow be surprised when those people fight back and a public outrage ensues.  I mean, really?  Did they not see that coming?

http://www.truthout.org/060709G

Nine More Police Killed in Amazon Protests in Peru

Saturday 06 June 2009
by: Carla Salazar, Tamy Higa and Frank Bajak
Visit article original @ The Associated Press

photo
Thousands of native people blocked the highway in the Amazon jungle in northern Peru. (Photo: Reuters)

LIMA, PERU – President Alan Garcia labored Saturday to contain Peru’s worst political violence in years, as nine more police officers were killed in a bloody standoff with Amazon Indians fighting his efforts to exploit oil and gas on their native lands.

The new deaths brought to 22 the number of police killed – seven with spears – since security forces moved early Friday to break up a roadblock manned by 5,000 protesters.

Protest leaders said at least 30 Indians, including three children, died in the clashes. Authorities said they could confirm only nine civilian deaths, but cabinet chief Yehude Simon told reporters that 155 people had been injured, about a third of them with bullet wounds.

He announced a 3 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew in the affected region and said authorities had made 72 arrests.

“The government was required to take these measures, not only for the president of the republic but for all 28 million Peruvians,” Simon said of breaking up the protests, which blocked the flow of oil and gas out of the Amazon and prevented food and supplies from coming in. “We’ve all been affected one way or another by the protest … when they take over highways and strategic points that can affect the national economy.”

The political violence is the Andean country’s worst since the Shining Path insurgency was quelled more than a decade ago, and it bodes ill for Garcia’s ambitious plans to boost Peru’s oil and gas output.

It began early Friday when security forces moved to break up a roadblock protesters mounted in early April. About 1,000 protesters seized police during the melee, taking more than three dozen hostage, officials said.

Twenty-two officers were rescued in Saturday’s storming of Station No. 6 at state-owned Petroperu in Imacita, in the jungle state of Amazonas, Defense Minister Antero Florez told the Radioprogramas radio network. He said seven officers were missing.

Simon said the nine killed were taken more than a mile from the station and slain while an army general was negotiating protesters’ retreat from the facility.

Among at least 45 casualties being treated at the main hospital in the Amazonas town of Bagua was local Indian leader Santiago Manuin, who received eight bullet wounds on Friday, said a nurse who identified herself only as “Sandra” for security reasons. She said no doctors could come to the phone because they were attending to the wounded.

Also Saturday, a judge ordered the arrest of protest group leader Alberto Pizango on sedition charges for allegedly inciting the violence, said the president of Peru’s supreme court, Javier Villa Stein.

Neither Pizango nor other senior members of his organization, the Peruvian Jungle Interethnic Development Association, could immediately be reached by telephone.

Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillos said Pizango had fled, likely to neighboring Bolivia where the government is dominated by the country’s indigenous majority.

On Friday, Pizango accused the government of “genocide” for attacking what he called a peaceful protest. Indians have been blocking roads, waterways and a state oil pipeline intermittently since April 9, demanding that Peru’s government repeal laws they say help foreign companies exploit their lands.

The laws, decreed by Garcia as he implemented a Peru-U.S. free trade pact, open communal jungle lands and water resources to oil drilling, logging, mining and large-scale farming, Indian leaders and environmental groups say.

In addition to violating Peru’s constitution, indigenous groups add, Garcia is breaking international law by failing to obtain their consent for the projects.

Garcia defends the laws as necessary to help develop Peru.

The government owns all subsoil rights across the country and Garcia has vigorously sought to exploit its mineral resources.

Contract blocks for oil and gas exploration cover approximately 72 percent of Peru’s rain forest, according to a study published last year by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

And though Peru’s growth rate has led Latin America in recent years, Garcia’s critics say little wealth has trickled down in a country where roughly half the population is indigenous and the poverty rate tops 40 percent.

Indians say Garcia’s government does not consult them in good faith before signing contracts that could affect at least 30,000 Amazon Indians across six provinces.

Last month, Roman Catholic bishops in the region issued a statement calling the complaints legitimate.

Protests prompted Garcia to declare a state of emergency on May 9, suspending some constitutional rights in four jungle provinces including Amazonas.

Because of the protests, Petroperu stopped pumping oil through its northern Peru pipeline from the jungle on April 26. Company spokesman Fernando Daffos said Friday that the interruption had cost it $448,000.

Also affected is the Argentine company Pluspetrol, which halted oil production in two jungle blocks in the Loreto region of northeastern Peru.

——-

Associated Press Writers Tamy Higa in Lima and Frank Bajak in Bogota contributed to this report.

Jun 09

Praying for Atheists

True Story…

My cousin Tom is the bassist in Prayers for Atheists. And he’s been kicking ass online promoting for the upcoming PFA shows, including hitting up family members (we have a huge family- almost 20 first cousins in between the ages of 16-29 years old and could probably fill a small venue with just our cousins and their respective partners/friends).

I got an excited email from Cousin Tom last week explaining that two of my younger cousins from Connecticut (who I love and don’t see nearly enough) were making the trip up to Providence for our show on the 20th. I thought it was odd, because they hardly come up here and last I knew, they weren’t really into music as aggressive as ours- but I just figured they thought it was cool that Tom had joined the band with (cool older cousin) Jared and that was enough to make the trip.

Tom and I were both pumped to see them, I mean, sincerely appreciative and really looking forward to it.

Then, just a few days ago I got this email from Cousin Tom:

“okay… really funny story. Matt and Zach selected ‘attending’ for the show off the Facebook invite. Because they thought it was a ‘praying for atheists’ event. One in which people all over the world would simultaneously pray for atheists… so… bad news, they’re not coming. Good news, that’s hilarious.”

Prayers for Atheists… ha.

Prayers for those who’ve lost their way…

Hymns of Hope, for those who no longer believe in god or the empire around them…

Songs from the bottom of a mineshaft; or Psalms of Victory.

This whole thing could get really interesting, on a lot of levels.

*(Matt and Zach! If you end up seeing this: We definitely got some different beliefs but your big cousin loves you. Always. Keep praying for us if it feels right. I’m sure there’s power there, one way or another, and I got a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get.)

Feb 18

Jared Paul beats his case. ALL CHARGES DROPPED!

Jared Paul, one of many civilians who were unjustly arrested during the Republican National Convention, has finally beat his case.

All charges dropped.

Jared Pauls unjust arrest

Jared Paul's unjust arrest

In early September of 2008, Jared Paul had the option to plead guilty and avoid this costly legal battle, but that didn’t jive with him and it didn’t jive with his supporters. An attorney was hired (with the help of money donations via www.ConspiracyToRiot.com) and we fought the case to the very end. It’s been a 5 month ordeal but victory is finally ours!

On Feb 9th, at12:43 pm, our attorney informed us that the dismissal requests
he filed to MN’s Ramsey Court were received and the case has been been
dismissed without prejudice due to insufficient evidence. Go figure.

For a full break down of what Jared Paul has been put through, check out his blog entries on www.ConspiracyToRiot.com

Read about this miscarriage of justice. Stay informed.

Read about this miscarriage of justice. Stay informed.

The Feb 27th show at the Grant in Pawtucket, RI is still going to act as a fundraiser (as we are still in the red) but this show is going to be more of a celebration of our victory than a request for money. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED OUR CAUSE.

This victory is for all citizens who are fed up with a system that bullies them into submission. There are many innocent people serving unjust time in American prisons and all over the world. Our struggle continues and we plan to keep fighting the tide. Stay aware, stay informed, and stay involved.

We’ve decided to leak a couple songs from the upcoming Prayers for Atheists EP on the new PFA myspace page:

www.myspace.com/prayersforatheists

ADD THEM!!!

Jared Pauls band

Jared Paul's band

One song that marks this victory in a special way is the “Psalm for St. Paul” track, which has Jared Paul chronicling his arrests at both the DNC as well as the RNC. No, we did not know he would beat his case. Yes, we are beyond thrilled.

CONGRATULATIONS TO JARED PAUL AND THANK YOU AGAIN TO EVERYONE ELSE FOR HELPING OUT!

Look at this Christian Slater lookin motherfucker. Pump Up the Volume!

Thank you, Jared. A lot of other people would have folded.

Feb 09

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