Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
Tomorrow, 22nd, which is internationally known as Earth Day, and Wednesday, 23rd April, the city of Celendin will welcome its brothers and sisters from across the entire province. They will gather in the city to protest the continued judicial persecution of community leaders and ronderos who are fighting to save their water from destruction by mega mining.
They will gather at the Casa de Maestro at 9am, travel to the Plaza de Armas and the Public Prosecutor Office, where much of this persecution stems from – people from Celendin who have sold out on their conscience and their profession to service the interests of the mining company.
Just over a week ago six compañeros were arrested on their way to a meeting at the lagoons. Yanacocha´s security, Sweedish Securitas, intercepted their vehicle then called the police. The police, always ready and waiting when the mine needs them, came, trailed the men from their vehicle and beat them until bleeding. The were then taken to Cajamarca and then in the early hours of the morning they were transported to Chiclayo – a city 8 hours from their home province. The men, which included a professional photographer who had travelled from Belgium to capture photos of the resistance and the repression, were held for 3 days without charge and with very little outside contact. Due to an overwhelming surge of public support – with mobilisations taking place every day they were inside in the cities of Celendin, Cajamarca and Chiclayo, the men were eventually freed. It was many days before they were able to recuperate their possessions, which included a professional camera and laptop and numerous mobile phones.
This is one of many, frequent instances of oppression of the protesters, who are exercising their right to say no to a project that would destroy their land and their water. For all that has happened, and for all that will come, Celendin will come out tomorrow to say ´Enough´.