Peru: Clashes Break Out in the Amazon Region

This post is part of our special coverage Forest Focus: Amazon.

The continuing tense situation in the Amazon Region of Peru has taken a turn for the worst and has become unbearable in city of Bagua. Reports coming from that area are truly alarming: RPP says: Emergency in Bagua: Police are killed and residents destroy buildings [es]. El Comercio reported that demonstrators burned government buildings [es], as well as the Apra political party headquarters in Bagua Grande. There are no official reports of deaths of indigenous residents, but SERVINDI does mention: Peru: 20 Awajún-Wampis indigenous die during conflicts in Bagua [es].

Photo of Conflict in Bagua by TV Cultura and used under Creative Commons license.

Photo of Conflict in Bagua by TV Cultura and used under Creative Commons license.

These protests are a continuation of the demands from indigenous communities, who are concerned that the government will take away their lands that are believed to be rich in minerals and oil. As a result, more than 2,000 indigenous residents have been blockading the highway in the area of Devil's Curve in Bagua Grande for the past week and a half, according to Enlace Nacional [es]. As a result, supplies have been running out in the area.

One of the indigenous leaders of the protest group, Alberto Pizango, called a press conference and stated that the Peruvian government has committed genocide with the murder of his indigenous brothers and sisters. Bloggers and twitterers from across the country are quite concerned and have been tuning in to the recent developments.

Many twitterers are following along to reports from the area, and providing their own opinions about the situation using the hashtag #Bagua:

Jonathan Sanchez @Maskus:

Pizango no quiere responder por los policias muertos ni la quema de locales #bagua

Pizango does not want to answer about the police officers killed or buildings burned # bagua


#Bagua recuerdan lo que sucedió cuando sacaron a invasores de los bosques de pomac? será que hay “infiltrados”? o policia solo dispara?

remember what happened when they removed those that invaded the forests of Pomac? could there be “infiltrated”? or do the police just shoot? #Bagua

Javier Vargas @javier_vargas:

Si los nativos no están armados, ¿quién mató a los policiías? @Peru21pe #Bagua

If you the natives are not armed, then who killed the Police? @Peru21pe #Bagua


Para Alan lo de #Bagua es pura manipulación de los enemigos extranjeros del país. “Quieren ver al Perú arrodillado” Alan dixit

For Alan (García), #Bagua is pure manipulation by the foreign enemies of the country. “They want to see Peru kneel” said Alan

Miguel Angel Tavera pe1us0:

Ya no hay medicamentos en el hospital, falta de sangre y muchas necesidades más, necesitan mucha ayuda en Bagua Grande.

There are no medicines in the hospital, there is a lack of blood and many more needs, they need much help in Bagua Grande.

In the blogosphere, Isabel of Las Burbujas Recargadas [es] writes:

Esto va a acabar mal. De hecho, ya está yendo bastante mal. Entre Brack, que ya se vendió descaradamente, y Pizango, a quien no le importa mandar a su gente a que la maten mientras él se esconde haciéndose el interesante, no veo ninguna remota posibilidad de entendimiento. Mientras, ¿alguien se preocupa por algo más importante que la politiquería y el dinero, o sea, por LAS VIDAS de los nativos y de sus familias? Claro que tienen derecho a protestar y defenderse, pero cerrando caminos y sitiando a poblaciones urbanas (como Yurimaguas), no se van a ganar el apoyo de nadie. Lo único que van a ganar es el odio y la marginación de parte de sus propios paisanos: están acentuando la división nativos-mestizos,

This will end badly. In fact, it is already going pretty badly. Between (Environmental Minister Antonio) Brack, who has already sold out, and (indigenous leader) Pizango, who does not mind sending his people off to be killed, while he hides, I do not see any remote chance of understanding. Meanwhile, does anyone care about anything more important than politics and money or for the lives of the indigenous and their families? Of course, they have the right to protest and defend themselves, but by blocking roads and placing urban populations under siege (such as Yurimaguas), they are not going to win the support of anyone. The only thing that will gain is the hatred and marginalization from their own countrymen: they are deepening the divide between indigenous and mestizos

Paco Bardales of Diario de Iqt [es] compiles a list of links and will continue to update his blog:

Desafortunado o no, el conflicto amazónico ha tomado un cariz trágico y sangriento. Los sucesos de Bagua han desbordado, mucho más allá de lo permitido. Hasta el momento, el enfrentamiento entre habitantes de la zona y miembros de la Policía, en la llamada Curva del Diablo (luego de que se quemara la gobernación del lugar), están dejando un saldo no confirmado aún de 28 civiles muertos y 10 policías.

Unfortunate or not, the Amazonian conflict took a tragic and bloody turn. The events of Bagua have spilled over, far beyond what is permitted. So far, the confrontation between the residents of the area and members of the police at Devil's Curve (after the governor's place was burned) is leaving behind 28 civilian and 10 police deaths, unconfirmed.

In addition to the conflicts in Bagua Grande, clashes are taking place in Jaén in the department of Cajamarca. Several twitterers have been posting news heard on the radio. With the seriousness of the situation, many Peruvians are wondering what will happen next.

This post is part of our special coverage Forest Focus: Amazon.


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