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Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 14:09 UK

Peru clashes: Readers' accounts

A soldier patrolling in Bagua
The Amazonas region is under curfew after days of confrontation

The Peruvian army has imposed a curfew in the jungle state of Amazonas following days of clashes between police and indigenous protestors.

At least 22 police and nine protesters died, officials say. Protesters say 30 indigenous Indians died.

The clashes followed weeks of protest by indigenous groups over government plans for gas and oil exploration on what they regard as their ancestral land.

Here readers living in the area describe the impact of the two-month-long blockade on local communities and give their views on the dispute.

VANESSA CARR, BUSINESSWOMAN, CHACHAPOYAS

Vanessa Carr
Vanessa Carr said people were worried the trouble would spread further south
I own a language school in Bagua town centre.

The military had warned the protesters [before the clashes] that they were going to move in and break up the blockades.

But the protesters did not move.

The military then moved in with tear gas and rifles. The protesters responded by shutting down roads and laying siege to the towns of Bagua, Jaen, Chachapoyas and Tarapoto.

I have friends and family in Bagua who are not involved in the protest. But they are trapped in the town square.

Protesters and policemen have been killed. The north of Peru has run out of food, medicine and gas supplies.

Map
There's a strong suspicion here that the recent verbal attacks by Bolivia's President Evo Morales on the Peruvian President Alan Garcia are related to this incident.

Local people support the protestors, but suspect that Ollanta Humala, the leader of the opposition, is being funded by Morales and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, to destabilise the region and force an election against the more liberal Garcia. [Humala has received the support of President Morales and President Chavez in the past, but has denied he receives funding from them.]

People are worried this will provoke activity in the south, where the Shining Path guerrilla groups still operate.


RENA GUENDUEZ, DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST, TARAPOTO

Flags at a protest in Tarapo. Photo: Rena Guenduez
Rena Guenduez took this picture at a protest in Tarapo
Indigenous communities have been protesting over the last 50 days against laws to open up the area for petroleum and mining concessions, which will lead to the mass destruction of forests.


The current state of destruction in San Martin province, where I live, is incredible - it's the area worst affected by deforestation in Peru.

We've got many foreign companies in our back yards, which is already impacting the region.

No dialogue or consultation has taken place between the government and indigenous communities on the development of this law.

The pleas of the indigenous communities have fallen on deaf ears, prompting their protest and the blockade of key roadways.

The government reacted in a shameless way, taking extreme measures to fight a peaceful demonstration. [President Garcia has roundly rejected such allegations].

The confrontation between police and protesters resulted in many deaths. It's a dark day for indigenous people.

The blockade has had a huge impact on local communities in San Martin. There has been no access to where we live as the roads have been blocked off for over a month.

We are currently subjected to food shortages and electrical rationing. San Martin is in the dark as no petroleum is coming in or out of the region.




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