Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
Cajamarca, the poorest region in Peru and one blight for the past 20 years with the curse of mega mining, will tomorrow join people all over the world to celebrate World Environment Day. In the threatened mountain lakes of Conga and in the cities of Celendin, Cajamarca and Bambamarca the people will show their respect for, and dedication to protect, the environment as they gather to take part in various demonstrations.
In Celendin, the city to see four protesters killed by the state security forces for excercising their right to protest, all the schools, colleges, universities and social organisations have been invited to take part in an artistic celebration that will flow through the streets and end in the Plaza de Armas. In Cajamarca the political figures such as Marco Arana and Gregorio Santos, their supporters and the public in general will also take to the streets. In Bambamarca, where the fifth martyr of water lost his life and whose only remaining clean water source is threatened by the Conga mining project, the population will also show their dedication to defend their natural resources.
The central focus, however, will be the mountain lakes themselves, which Yanacocha threatens to destroy if they are permitted to carry out their destructive open pit mining project. Agriculturalists, cattle-rearers, teachers, mothers, professionals and all who are able to climb to the high altitudes where the water is sourced will show on this symbolic day that their is no choice to be made between water for the communities or gold for the transnationals. The people have declared the project inviable and they will fight to the end to project the environment.
We plea to the police and Peruvian state to protect citizens rights to free transit, freedom of expression and, in a supposedly democratic society, the right to protest.