Protect Peaceful Protesters from Eviction
The Communities in Resistance of San Jose del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc are under attack once again.
On Dec. 7th, the communities in resistance to mining in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc are held their ground at the roadblock they have maintained since March of this year as the police attempted to forcefully evict them.
Please contact the Guatemalan government to demand that they do not evict the protesters and do respect the community members legal rights.
At 6am, anti-riot police arrived at the roablock in San Jose del Golfo and began tearing down 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. A lawyer for the Ministry of the Interior also threatened Yolanda Oqueli, who was shot by unknown assailants earlier this year, with arrest.
Police shot tear gas at the protesters, which included children and men and women of all ages. Several people, including two young girls, were treated for tear gas exposure.
Despite this aggression, the peaceful protesters 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 tiny kitchen that the protesters have been using to feed themselves, and stole food and water. (Photo: Prensa Libre)
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 explains 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 arrested are accorded all their legal rights.