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2 Mai 2022

Peru Support Group

Peru: Community members removed by the police in violent clashes at Las Bambas mininig site

“Police move in to dislodge las bambas protestors with force” - April 30, 2022

Community members have continued to occupy the MMG Las Bambas copper mine in Apurímac. As we reported last week, the community of Fuerabamba and other local communities including Huancuire had camped in the mine’s property, in an attempt to reclaim land they had previously sold whilst claiming that the sale agreements had not been properly fulfilled by MMG.

It was estimated that around 200 community members from Fuerabambas were camping on the site on 27 April with numbers growing, and around 500 from Huancuire in another part of the mine.

The police forcibly removed some protestors on 27 April resulting in three being seriously injured, and the arrests of ten protestors and a journalist from the La República newspaper. The journalist claimed that he was unable to contact anyone for six hours, that his photographs were deleted, and his equipment taken. Not all the protesters were removed.

On the same day, the government declared a state of emergency in the area around Las Bambas for 30 days, temporarily suspending the right to assembly and protest. The government is reported to have claimed that the decision to take police action was made locally before the state of emergency.

The following day, community members again tried to enter and retake the land. Community members were reported to have surrounded the mine on four sides, in an attempt to enter from different points. Whilst the government then said it had not participated in the evictions, the police expelled more community members from the mine. At the time of writing, Fuerabamba community members had again been removed by the police, but those from Huancuire remained, possibly reflecting their different locations within the mine.

During the conflict police have used teargas whilst protesters have hurled rocks and damaged mine equipment. The second day resulted in more people injured; two community members and 15 police and workers of the mine, but local reports suggest many more suffered minor injuries.