Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anti-repression, pro-environment march in Lima

On July 12th, there was a march in Lima demanding:
  • That the Ollanta Humala administration keep its electoral promises
  • End of repression against the mass movement in Cajamarca and Cuzco's Espinar province against mining concessions
  • No to the Conga mining project in Cajamarca

The popular movement in Cajamarca against the concession of mining permits to Yanacocha corp. for the Conga mining project, which would drain a number of lakes and dry up several streams, in addition to leaving the area with a legacy of toxic waste, called for a nationwide support mobilization on the 12th, so the the Conga issue was merged with the march already called by the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP). (Marches also took place in Ica, in Arequipa, and -in defiance of a declared state of emergency- in Cajamarca)

The concentration point was at the Plaza Dos de Mayo -right in front of the CGTP headquarters- and the march was to end at the Plaza San Martin, a traditional spot for large political rallies.  In between it wound through downtown Lima, stretching 8-10 blocks across four lanes of road.

I had learned about the mobilization from a group of demonstrators in Trujillo, and determined to add my presence to the cause.   I accompanied the march from Plaza Dos de Mayo, down Nicolas de Pierola, Wilson, and to the Plaza Grau.  At that point we had marched quite a distance and it wasn't clear to me what the remainder of the route would be, so I called it a day and missed the final rally in Plaza San Martin.

By the evening and the following day, the news media -largely pro-"development"- focused their coverage not on the march, the rally, or the demands, but on the graffitti painted on the pedestal of the monument to Gen. San Martin by a group of anarchist youth from the Union Socialista Libertaria.   There were the usual demands that left "distance" itself from, and "condemn", "radicals" and "violent" sectors. The occasion was also used to try to put lefty mayor Susana Villaran on the spot for allegedly not policing the event sufficiently.

The only exception to this bandwagon that I saw among the daily press was La Primera newspaper's coverage.

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