Dozens Reported Killed in Amazon Land Protest

"Indians protesting oil and gas exploration on their lands battled police in Peru's remote Amazon on Friday, with authorities and Indian leaders separately reporting nine police and 25 protester deaths.

The violence broke out before dawn as officers broke up a road blockade by some 5,000 Indians in an area called Curva del Diablo — or "Devil's Curve" — in the northern province of Utcubamba.

Protest leaders said police opened fire from helicopters with bullets and tear gas, while national police director Jose Sanchez Farfan said protesters attacked officers with firearms. He said they also set fire to government buildings.

Nine police officers were killed by gunfire and 45 wounded, said Farfan.

Indian leaders said 25 Indians were killed in the clash, accusing the government of "genocide" in attacking what they called a peaceful protest. Another 50 Indians were injured, 14 of them seriously, said Servando Puerta, one indigenous leader."

The Associated Press story ran on NPR June 5, 2009.

See Also:

Rainforest Conflict Turns Bloody (Environment News Service)

"13 Killed in Peru" (Los Angeles Times)

"Peru Struggles" -- 50 Dead (Wall Street Journal)


Source: AP, 06/08/2009