Peru clamps down as riots spread
Peru clamps down as riots spread
Peru clamps down as riots spread
Police and troops have poured into Peru's second city, Arequipa, to enforce a government-imposed state of emergency as violent demonstrations against privatisation spread.
Rioting which erupted on Thursday prompted President Alejandro Toledo to declare the emergency and authorise the military to use force to maintain order in the city.
One man has been killed and dozens injured in the unrest in Arequipa, 750 km (470 miles) south-east of Lima, which was sparked by the privatisation of two state electricity companies.
Hours after Mr Toledo said he would not go back on his privatisation plans, protesters rioted in Tacna, near the border with Chile, while demonstrators took to the streets again in Arequipa.
Hundreds of vandals wrecked phone booths and smashed windows of banks and official buildings in Tacna, briefly forcing the closure of the airport, local officials said. Police responded with tear gas and made 30 arrests, with two of their own officers injured.
The central government representative in Tacna, Wilson Mazuelos, called for the state of emergency to be extended to include his city.
In Arequipa, 10 people were reportedly injured on Monday morning as protesters gathered in clusters in the centre but soldiers could be seen patrolling the streets. Crackdown
President Toledo insisted in a televised address on Sunday that privatisation met the needs of people in Arequipa and urged citizens to show "serenity, calm and responsibility" after the clashes, estimated to have caused damage costing $100m.
A man struck by a tear-gas canister has died of his injuries while the Red Cross reports that 66 people, including 24 police officers, have been injured since Thursday.
Peruvian Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi said on Monday that the situation was "returning to normal".
He blamed the unrest on "irresponsible violent individuals".
According to the Reuters news agency, 700 soldiers armed with automatic rifles moved into the city early on Monday morning, backed by light armoured vehicles.
They were accompanied by an extra 1,000 police equipped with riots helmets and shields.
The troops moved to dismantle stone barricades erected by protesters who had crammed into the city's main square in their thousands over the weekend, for demonstrations which the police broke up with tear gas.
Protesters had also vandalised the airport, smashing landing lights and stealing equipment.
All flights were cancelled and many tourists were left stranded, but the airport was expected to reopen on Monday.
The demonstrators have been protesting against the government's decision on Friday to sell off the state-owned utility companies Egasa and Egesur.
They accuse Mr Toledo of reneging on a pledge not to sell them, made during last year's election campaign.
Local residents fear they will see nothing of the $167.4m paid by the Belgian company Tractebel for the two companies.
But Mr Toledo counters that the sale has $85m for infrastructure projects, and says that Tractebel committed to making new investment of $90 million in the Arequipa region.
As a result, 60,000 people would receive electricity and 5,000 new jobs would be created in Arequipa, he said.
Privatisation - a key part of the government's economic policy - is an issue that has come to haunt the already unpopular president, whose current poll rating is about 20%.
Eyewitness reports via email from the past several days (you won't see these details on the BBC):
With comradely love TO ALL WHO READ THIS MAIL: The first hand Report from the scene of POPULAR UPRISING- Revolutionary INSURRECTION !!!!....After weeks of appeal by the 7 local governments of southern provinces of PERU ( Arequipa, Tacna, Cusco, Moquequa, Puno, Madre de Dios, Ilo ) against the authoritarian politics of the Central government of Toledo (New agent of World Bank & I.M.F ) to go along with the announced Privitization of Services of Gas & Electericity, the Southern Region YESTERDAY FRIDAY 13 OF JUNE decided to go along with an indefinite General Strike( closing down of Every work Places & Shut down of all Public Transportions....) !!...I arrived in Arequipa just on time before the real show down.....The battle ground is EVERY WHERE....but in and around the main square (Plaza Armas ) was the
main concentration of Revolutionary actions: Making barricades with the stones from the same city
pavements (old fashion style),fighting the police whom with constant infutile lacrimoghinas gas trying to push back the hundreds of militant demonstratinos by ALL ages & All walks of life.....Revolutionary slogans:Arequipa Revolution ; Insurection popular- general mandate; This is Arequipa :firm and cambative ; The people united will never defeated and reformist slogan of : Urgent Urgent another President....The placards were varied as well ...All aginst the Privitization and against the Continuation of New liberal politics of the Toledo Regime....the most radical ofcouse is :Capitalism kills LETS KILL CAPITALISM....And most importantly the attacks were directed against the (1) banks( Credit bank-the biggest in Peru & the Spanish ones namely Santander Central Hispano)...Breaking their windows (2) SUNAT ( I.R.S of peru ) (3) RENIEC( Public registry-where they issue national identity cards) (4) Public telefones(Spanish owned Telefonica del Peru)....from some of these places computer and furniture were takens & burned in & around the Barricades ....IT WAS FANTASTIC....LIKE BEING in Seattle,Quebec
.......As you all know the uprising against privitization of public services (water,electricity,gas...) are all over in South America including Bolivia. Argentina, Columbia, Ecuador..... AS I am writing these notes people have started to come out & are shouting : Vamos vamos carrajo pueblo no le rinde carrajo : HAY letīs go GOD DAMNED ;People Would Not Surround, Hell NO !!!!....Just a historical note : Arequipa is a province with a proud history of resistance against both Spanish Colonial Forces & And ever since of Peruīs independence(1823) against all the reactionary governments of all time....iīll finish this note so i could go and join the people
With a drastic decision of the central Government of PERU, the declartion of an state of Emergency for a month for AREQUIPA , the situation has gotten more radical... in the next round people have come out of their houses & their shops to beat on pots and pants .... as a show of solidarity for the whole movement and the resistence to the intransigence of the authoritarian, fascistic policies of the I.M.Fīs representative i.e TOLEDO & his lackies....Even though i truly believe (especially after the solidarity of the cities of Tacna & Cusco....) Toledo is doomed to fail and has to back off.... All the streets from at least 12 corners (the main central streets in the city centre) toward the main square are being block by SPECIAL POLICE SQUAD...so NO ONE CAN GET TO THE plaza de armas.... FOR NOW THATS ALL....
Dear comrades .....City of Arequipa practically is in flame,barricades have spreaded all over, more than 40 militants are arrested and more than 120 injured....the militant got to the airport and shut it down,one worker demonstrator got his leg broken and taken to hospital...central government via Minstry of the interior,an x leftist !! name ROSPILGILOSI is accusing the 7 local mayors,who are in 11 DAYS of hunger strike,as the cause of all the vandalisim....of course pure B.S....MILITANCY is increasing day by day,hour by hour....just
hoping that would keep up the momentum....at any rates in local radio people are calling out for more support and more militancy....things are heating up more and more....and their is definitly the chance that Government would back up from the FINALIZED privatization shame....bellow i will like to write more of the grafitis and the signs that arte beinfg put up....GRAFITIS: Toledo SERVENT OF I.M.F,Toledo the traitor,RAT ROSPIGLIOSI FACE OF A DOG, The people have come out,Toledo is fucked up,Toledo listen Arequipa does not sell herself ,NOW they can say we are bunch of minority...also as an slogan,Down with fascist, dictator, assasin Toledo...as 3 diferent grafities, Toledo Arequipa repudiates you,Till the final...HAST LA FINAL, Rennounce NOW Toledo,Long live Resistence,Down with Neo liberalism,FREE Arequipa, Arequipa does not surrounds and does not sell, NO to dictator,Privatization is Hunger and Miseary,For the United classist Sindicates,SUTEP ,which is the teachers Sindicates,LONG LIVE INSURGENCY MOVEMENT OF Arequipa,Death.... with a drawing of a skull, TO the abuse of the TELEFONICA,which belongs to the FUCKING spanish monopoly,CGTP Sindicates of civil construction of Arequipa always fighting for work and dignity,developmental democracy and social justice....QUE VIVA LA REVOLUCION DEL SUR...LONG LIVE THE SOUTHERN REVOLUTION....i should add that in CUSCO and Tacna also things are picking up quiet well...in solidarity with their sisters and brothers of Arequipa...thats is for now...i will keep updating you...long live the popular insurgency in south and all of PERU.
Last night in defience of the curfew, my friends & i joined the people in the neighbourhood, from 10pm till 10:45, in beating pots & pants(and the sign posts)...and in a matter of minutes created a chain effect,breaking the silence of the night..... IT WAS WONDERFUL !!!! It's such an awesome experience-feeling.....The solidarity is FANTASTIC...PEOPLE ARE determined to fight to the last.....It has radicalized the mayer to the point that before the arrival of the central government representative for the dialogue today,he put 3 conditions for the conversation:(1) The government,especially the ministry of the interior & the justice,to appologized for the insult to all the Arequipa (2) The government has to back off from the privitization process (3) the state of the siege HAS to be taken off !!...we will have to see
tonight.....i could find a bank to get some money and since their is NO buses i am stuck for 2 more days in here ...i am over all quite happy and learing a lot and love talking to people-specially to older ones-and learn first oral hand history of the 1950 revolution in Arequipa against military government of fascist ODRIA.... The second wounded-among the 120- is in a stage of emergency........tomorrow i will write more....
one more just received:
Hello to all my dear comrades at L.P.C and beyound ...Yesterday while leaving the internet cafe,after sending you my 4th report,the news of the death of the second martyr(hero of the Anti-privatization/Anti neo-liberalism),also university student - 36 years old,by the name of Fernando Talaver-was announced in the radio !!! Just few hours earlier the funeral procession of the first hero:Edgard Pinto Quintanilla,17 years old,was recieved by 700 people !!!...Also yesterday at 2:30pm The bus of the representatives of the central government(4 minsters & vice president plus 2 clergy man) who had come for the negotiation with the local mayors .... was stoned by the people whom were waiting to give them the proper " Bienvenido / welcome"
...hahahha !!!!...The "cacerolazo" (the beating on the pots & pans) at 1pm &7pm has been going on with more enthusiasm ....Last, but not least, just as i was getting in to the 'plaza de armas' around 2:45pm, seven tanks were rolling toward the square to once and for all push every one out of the centre of the last 5 days of actions: Revolt.....!!! Ofcourse we (around 250 people) tried unsucessfully to block the entrance of the modern tanks by throwing all the blocks of stone/bricks at our disposal.... The shower of the insults (' Hijo the putas,sal de aqui,regresan a Lima' / son of the bitches,get out of here,go back to Lima) mixing with the radical slogan: El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido/the people united will never be deafeted filled the square....but finally the pigs started to throw lots of Lacragimonas gas toward us (which as the result of it the above mentioned body was hit to his head and went dopwn & was evacuated by cruz roja/red cross).... the rest of us retreated and left the square...It was finally & totally conquested by the army-unfortunatelly ...
Tacna,Puno,Cusco ( 3 neighboring provinces of Arequipa) have ANNOUNCED 48 hours huelga/strikes for solidarity....VIVA la lucha indefinitiva & permanante........JUST HEARD IN THE RADIO THAT THE NEGOTIATIONS GOT TO THE FOLLOWING "SOLUTION" :(1) THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT WOULD SUSPEND THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE ELECTRICAL COMPANY (2) THE STATE OF SIEGE WOULD BE ENDED IN 48 HOURS (3) THE APOLOGY WOULD COME FROM THE 2 MINISTERS who insulted
the mayors & the people in general.....people are honking the horns of their cars,shouting and going toward the centre city....i'll have to end these note to go and join the people......
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