Dec 8, 2012

Under Attack in San Jose del Golfo

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 11
crédito de foto:Guatemala Human Rights Updates

December 8, 2012

Source: Guatemala Human Rights Updates

On December 7, the communities in resistance to mining in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc held their ground at the roadblock they have maintained since March of this year as the police attempted to forcefully evict them.

At 6am, anti-riot police arrived at the roablock in San Jose del Golfo and began tearing down the banners and other installations. They also arrested at least 5 people for supposedly obstructing the road, though the protesters have only been blocking the entrance of mining equipment, not other traffic.

Police shot tear gas at the protesters, which include children and men and women of all ages. Several people, including two young girls, have been treated for tear gas exposure.

Despite this aggression, the peaceful protesters have held their ground. They  laid down on the street with makeshift masks covering their faces, and sang hymns to give themselves courage. Meanwhile, the police tore apart the makeshift kitchen that the protesters have been using to feed themselves, and stole food and water.

the office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, present on the scene, suggested opening a dialogue between the protesters and the government, but the government rejected the idea. Interior Minister Lopez Bonilla was quoted as saying that there could well be more arrests, and that the police would keep using force if need be to open access for the mining company.

Attorney Sergio Vives explained that the actions of the police are illegal, as there is no order for the eviction of the communities.

Please contact the Guatemalan government to express your concern for these peaceful protesters and demand that those detained are accorded all their legal rights.

Three pieces of breaking news at the end of the day.

1) Those detained at the roadblock this morning have been freed. They were taken to the city, but the judge there rejected their case and sent it back to the Judge of the Peace in San Pedro Ayampuc.

2) The government has agreed to remove the majority of the police from the roadblock. 15 of them will stay over the weekend to "guard the mine" but the rest of them will leave for now.

3) In statements directly contradicting this, the Interior Minister announced in a press conference that the government will take the steps necessary to open the road to the mine. He also insultingly accused "international organizations" of inciting the community members and said that those guilty of incitation would be expelled.
 
 

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