Protesters Clash with Police over Oil Exploration Project in Central Pichanaqui District, Further Unrest Expected
Drum Cussac has issued this latest warning for people traveling and living in the country of Peru. This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…
Severity: 3 (Moderate)
Source: Drum Cussac
02/12/2015 (Peru) – At least one person was reportedly killed and 20 others were injured as police clashed with demonstrators attempting to storm a facility owned by the Argentine energy company, Pluspetrol, in the Pichanaqui (Pichanaki) District of the central Amazonian province of Chanchamayo overnight on Wednesday, 11 February. The incident began when protesters besieged a military base in the town of Pichanaqui where a Pluspetrol storage installation is located. Security forces reportedly fired tear gas and, allegedly, live ammunition to disperse the protesters.
The unrest was linked to an ongoing dispute between the local population and Pluspetrol over an oil exploration project in the area. Opponents to the project are concerned over the environmental impact of the project, and launched an indefinite strike action in Pichanaqui on 9 February. Protesters have also blocked sections of the main roads in the area.
Protests over oil and gas exploration and extraction operations are relatively common in rural areas of Peru, where the indigenous population can be hostile to such projects due to concerns of their environmental impact, unfair royalty schemes and a perceived lack of respect for ancestral domains. Pluspetrol is also facing significant opposition from indigenous tribes over its operations in the Loreto Region, with protesters disrupting oil production at 14 wells and blocking a section of the Tigre River since late January 2015.
Tensions are running high and there are concerns that the death of a protester could radicalise opponents of Pluspetrol and prompt them to intensify their protests. Those in the Pichanaqui District should stay abreast of the latest related developments, and avoid the vicinity of the Pluspetrol’s airport and other installations to minimise the risk of exposure to potential localised unrest. There is also a possibility that indigenous groups in other parts of Peru will hold solidarity rallies in their respective communities.
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