Since April, indigenous communities have been protesting new laws passed by President García allowing for extensive oil drilling, logging, and the construction of hydroelectric dams in the Amazonian region of Peru. Tension grew this past weekend as police opened fire on peaceful protestors.
The laws were passed in order to "fast-track" implementation of the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement. A governmental rejection of congressional attempts to overturn the laws sparked the violent clashes between community members and Peruvian riot police.
For over fifty days around 2,500 indigenous people have been blocking the highway in the northern Bagua Province near a regional oil pipeline. The protestors had been refusing to move solely on the basis of dialogue, which hadn't succeeded in overturning the laws. The Chief of Police announced that he had orders to open the road and establish order if the protestors didn't move. The indigenous people continued to nonviolently defend their land, causing police to fire live bullets and tear gas into the crowd early the next morning.
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