Peru gold mine protesters want project scrapped
LIMA, July 2 (UPI) — Protests against a $5 billion gold mining project that’s set to drain three lakes in northern Peru’s Cajamarca region are mounting amid warnings of a repeat of last year’s fatal confrontations with authorities. The protests against the Conga mining project, led by Colorado’s Newmont Mining Corp., have gone on since work on the project began in 2010 and gained momentum after President Ollanta Humala took office in July 2011.
At least five protesters have died in clashes with law enforcement agents sent in by Humala, and several ministers in his cabinet have resigned over the project. Protesters oppose mine developer Minera Yanacocha’s plans to drain the lake into reservoirs it will build and use the lake sites for developing the mine. Yanacocha, majority owned by Newmont (51.35 percent), says its plan will ensure water reaches downstream residents year-round.
The protesters say more than the supply of water is at stake in the planned destruction of the lakes. Yanacocha is a joint venture between Newmont Mining, which has headquarters in Denver, Compania de Minas Buenaventura (43.65 percent) and the International Finance Corp. (5 percent). It is the largest-ever private sector investment project undertaken in Peru. Newmont and its partners are accused of ignoring both the protesters and local authorities.
The Peruvian Times has reported the company’s high-handed attitude toward local authorities has played a significant role in the regional protest and fed into existing mistrust. As the dispute flared, Humala sent in riot control agents but the confrontation backfired, resulting in deaths during protests. The government is now seeking reconciliation with the protest groups but still wants the gold mine to go ahead. The protesters say nothing short of a cancellation of the project will end their campaign.
Vietnamese Inmates Riot, Demand Better Conditions
Inmates in Vietnam seized a prison for several hours at the weekend, taking the facility’s chief hostage to demand better conditions, sources said Monday, amid concerns by activists over inhumane treatment in the country’s penal system. A riot involving dozens of inmates broke out at camp No. 1 (K1) of the Z30A Xuan Loc Prison in Dong Nai province early on Sunday, according to former prisoner and pro-democracy activist Le Thang Long, who said he had spoken with a source at the jail during the unrest. After taking control of the camp, inmates broke down the doors to the main office and took supervisor Lieutenant Colonel Ho Phi Thang hostage, demanding an end to abuses committed by prison guards, he told RFA’s Vietnamese Service. “At about 7:00 or 8:00 a.m., prisoners revolted and took the supervisor of Z30A, Ho Phi Thang, as a hostage,” Long said.
“The reason was ill-treatment in the prison—prisoners are harassed, their food rations are cut and their basic requests are not granted.” In recent weeks, a number of Vietnamese political prisoners have held hunger strikes to protest harsh conditions in jail, including prominent dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu and Catholic activist Tran Minh Nhat. According to the state-run Thanh Nien daily, the riot began when a group of prisoners were playing soccer in a detention area and inmates Pham Van Tri and Pham Ngoc Huong began “screaming” and throwing rocks towards a gate where guards were standing nearby.
Protesters angered by rape, storm police HQ in Ukrainian town
KIEV, July 2 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s president ordered a top-level inquiry on Tuesday after a night of violence in a small southern town in which people angered by the rape of a local woman in which they said police were involved attacked a police headquarters with petrol bombs. The protests, prompted by suspicions one of the policemen involved was being protected because of family connections, came at an awkward time for the former Soviet republic.
The European Union is pressing Ukraine to eradicate corruption and bias in the police and judiciary to improve its chances of signing landmark political and trade deals with the bloc in November. Several hundred people took to the streets in Vradiyevka, 400 km (250 miles) south of the capital Kiev, after reports circulated of the attack on a 29-year-old shop assistant who said she was beaten and raped by two policemen after being grabbed on a street and forced into a taxi. Video footage at the scene showed police cowering back as mobs tried to force their way into the main police building and used metal bars to beat in windows and a metal perimeter fence.
Police used what appeared to be pepper-spray to force them back. Part of the building was ablaze in the early hours of Tuesday after petrol bombs were thrown. Angry crowds were still demonstrating in the town in mid-afternoon despite a visit by the regional governor to calm them. “What happened last night is a wake-up call,” Vitaly Klitschko, the world boxing champion-turned-politician, told parliament which interrupted a discussion on European integration to hear reports on the overnight unrest. “The impunity of law enforcement authorities has caused a people’s rebellion,” Klitschko said.
Police battle protesters in Philippines slum riot
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine slum dwellers hurling rocks, improvised explosives and human excrement fought running battles with riot police Monday around a sprawling Manila shanty town that is set for redevelopment, an AFP photographer saw. Police said an officer was hospitalised with a head injury while several residents of the North Triangle slum were briefly detained, though none were charged and were later released. Police moved in as traffic backed up after squatters erected barricades across a street, said the district’s police chief, Senior Superintendent Richard Albano. “We arrested some people, but later decided to release them,” Albano told ABS-CBN television in an interview.
Residents hurled projectiles at officers who baton-charged them from behind shields. An AFP photographer said rocks, spikes and nails packed in small containers, as well as faeces, were hurled at the police. Television also showed police firing what appeared to be tear gas at the rioters, who were reined in just before midday. Slums, as well as riots sparked by government efforts to clear them, are prominent features of Philippine cities. Nearly a third of the population is considered poor. The 29-hectare (72-acre) North Triangle area had previously housed 10,000 squatter families, according to city mayor Herbert Bautista.
About 8,000 families were relocated with government help in the past two years, he said. The government plans to redevelop it in partnership with a big real estate firm into a 65-billion-peso ($1.5-billion) central business district, with the first phase set to be completed in three years. Leah Valencia, leader of a support group for the squatters, told AFP they were protesting at a formal notice to leave the property by June 30. She said the holdouts complained the relocation site was too far from Manila, where they scraped a living in construction and other low-paying jobs. Most are migrants from the provinces and some have lived in the slum for 30 years, she added.
Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian in West Bank
(Reuters) – Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian during a confrontation in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said Palestinians threw rocks at soldiers who were on routine duties in the Dura village, near the city of Hebron. “They then began climbing a military vehicle. The security forces warned the suspects and used riot dispersal means. Finally, with no other option, they responded with fire at one of the suspects and the incident is currently being investigated,” she said.
Palestinian hospital officials said one Palestinian died of gunshot wounds. Hebron governor Kamel Hamid identified him as Moataz Sharawneh, 19. “Sharawneh was killed though he did nothing wrong. We hold the occupation authorities responsible for what has happened and what might happen as a result,” Hamid told Palestinian radio. Violence in the West Bank has risen since the beginning of 2013. Israeli forces have killed 10 Palestinians there this year, most of them in clashes, compared with three killed in n the same period in 2012, according to The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Police fires teargas to disperse rioting drivers
A strike by taxi operators paralyzed transport in Jinja and the entire Busoga region as drivers protested the hike in penalties brought about by the revised express penalty scheme (EPS). The demonstration followed a threat by the drivers last week that they would lay down their tools until their grievances were met by the concerned authorities. By 6:00am Monday morning, the angry drivers parked their vehicles and blocked the Jinja-Iganga-Bugiri road at Bugembe Township, in an attempt to stop other motorists from ferrying passengers.
They put barricades that included huge stones and heaps of garbage in the middle of the road as well as burning tyres as others pelted taxis and buses that tried to forcibly ferry passengers, with stones breaking their windscreens in the process. As the situation got out of hand, the police commanded by the Kiira North division DPC, Samuel Madira, engaged the protesters in Bugembe township in running battles, in a bid to restore normalcy.
Anti-riot Policemen were later brought in after Madira called for re-enforcement. Police had to fire bullets and teargas at the rowdy drivers who had grouped in Wanyama, Bugembe and Wanyange trading centres, to contain the situation. Clouds of teargas could be seen hovering over the three townships as other residents struggled to wash their faces with water to mitigate the effects of the tear gas.
S. Korean farmers hold massive rally against FTA with China
Thousands of South Korean farmers and fishermen rallied Tuesday to oppose a potential free trade deal with China as the two countries kicked off a new round of negotiations to tear down trade barriers between two of Asia’s biggest economies. An estimated 3,200 protesters from across the country attended the rally in front of the BEXCO convention center, a few kilometers from the negotiation venue in this southeastern port city of Busan.
The organizers put the number of participants at about 6,000. Wearing red protest headbands, the demonstrators shouted slogans and pumped clenched fists in the air while holding pickets with signs, such as “Korea-China FTA is the death sentence to Korean farming.” The demonstrators later marched toward the hotel on Haeundae Beach, where the negotiations were under way.Some of them attempted to enter the venue, but were blocked by riot police. After 90 minutes of standoff with police, the protesters dispersed voluntarily. Three protesters were briefly detained by police, and there were no serious clashes.
Housing Activists Clash With Police in Street Protest
PHNOM PENH – At least two women were injured Monday as housing rights activists clashed with police in Phnom Penh. The activists had been demonstrating by sitting in a major street in front of City Hall to demand land titles in two ongoing land disputes in the capital, those at Boeing Kak lake and the Borei Keila neighborhood. About 200 riot police eventually dispersed them by force, clearing them from the Monivong Boulevard, a main traffic artery for the city. Rights groups said one woman, Hek Chan Reaksmey, 33, who was two and a half months pregnant, miscarried following a blow to her abdomen in the clash.
“The authorities used their shields to push us so tightly to the other side of the street, and then they started to beat us,” Hek Chan Reaksmey later told VOA Khmer. Activists said Monday they would continue to protest, despite continued clashes with police, in an ongoing series of demonstrations that have proven intractable for the government and the city.
Lawmaker: 1 killed in protest in southeast Turkey
A Kurdish politician says paramilitary police have fired on a group of Kurdish protesters in southeast Turkey, killing one person and injuring eight others. Kurdish legislator Nazmi Gur told The Associated Press the protesters were demonstrating Friday against construction work to expand a military post in the mainly Kurdish town of Lice. The state-run news agency says security forces fired warning shots into the air to disperse the protesters after some hurled fire bombs and stones. It reported there were seven people hurt. The different casualty figures could not immediately be reconciled. The incident comes as autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels are withdrawing from Turkey as part of peace talks with the Turkish government. A rebel commander last week criticized Turkish government efforts to build new military posts amid the peace efforts.