Thursday, May 24, 2007

Camisea Protesters Block Road to Quillabamba, Threaten to Take Over Pipeline

Protesters in the province of La Convención have launched an indefinite blockade of the road between the provincial capital of Quillabamba and Cusco, closing access to the town and leaving scores of vehicles stranded. All businesses and public institutions in the Province are closed due the marching of thousands of protesters, led by the provincial mayor and nine district mayors, who are demanding accountability for the pipeline's six spills and benefits for the local population.

On Tuesday, May 22, more than 1,500 residents of Kiteni and Kepashiato peacefully marched to a pumping station at km 125 of the Camisea pipeline, the location of the latest spill, where they were encountered by police and TGP's private security. Community members presented a document to the company, demanding that it pay damages for the spills and that Peru's Energy Minister, Juan Valdivia, visit the region.

The protest was originally planned to last 72 hours, but on May 23, organizers decided to extend the blockade indefinitely until the federal government sends ministers to the region. They also said that they were prepared to take over the pipeline and block access to the tourist destination, Machu Picchu, if the government did not respond.

In addition to demanding accountability for the pipeline spills, protesters are calling for the construction of a pipeline connecting the gas reserves to Quillabamba, the improvement of roads in the region, and the declaration of a state of emergency in the Convention.

More in: La Republica, Andina

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