Peru: Demonstration in Berlin and resignation of government

Protesters holding banners in front of the peruvian Embassy Protests in front of the Peruvian Embassy in Berlin (Foto: Minka Perú)

Jul 24, 2012

Within only eight months parts of the Peruvian government resigned for the second time. The reason is once again the ongoing protests against the gold mine in Cajamarca, a region in northern Peru. Just last Friday we handed over 33.000 signatures against the conga project.

On July 23rd, we received the news that the Peruvian government has resigned for the second time in eight months. The reason for the government reshuffle was once again the resistance of the north Peruvian region Cajamarca against the Conga goldmine, as well as international protest against the brutal action, committed by the police during the conflict. Altogether 5 people were shot down by police, many others were injured as well as peaceful environmentalists, who were beaten and arrested in front of the camera.

On July 20th, Rainforest Rescue as well as other groups got involved in a full-throated demonstration in front of the Peruvian embassy in Berlin. The protestors solidarized with the demonstrations in Cajamarca and handed over the first 33,000 signatures on our petition. The announcement had been organized by the Peruvian-German organization “Minka Perú- Comité por el respeto a los derechos humanos y ambientales” (Minka Perú – Comitee for protection of Human-rights and environment).

Ministerpresident Valdéz was meant to put a rigorous end to the protests

On Monday, July 23rd, Humala accepted the letter of resignation of his Premier Óscar Valdéz. Other ministers followed and resigned their posts in the cabinet. As in December 2011, the official reason is the ongoing conflict around the Conga mine in Cajamarca. Valdéz is the second president within only eight months, who has had to step down because of resistance to the Conga project. The ex-militarist Valdéz is known as a close confidant of President Humala and was employed to substitute his predecessor, who was willing to negotiate.

In June, Valdéz called out a state of emergency in the region of resistance and ordered the shooting of protesters. The brutal pictures circled the globe and caused a wave of international protest. Rainforest Rescue solidarized with the people of Cajamarca and organized an e-mail protest action. Nearly 36,000 people have so far participated with their signature. The protest e-mails went directly to the Peruvian embassies in Europe as well as to the government in Peru. As a result violence came to a halt and two Catholic priests were sent to Cajamarca to mediate.
The new Premierminister Juan Jiménez has one main objective for his position: “To reestablish the social peace in Cajamarca and other parts of Peru”. It remains to be seen how the situation will evolve.

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