For two months, members of the Fuerabamba indigenous community have been blocking a road used by the Las Bambas copper mine. The community says they have not been compensated properly for use of their land.
The community and national protesters in their support are demanding the release of the village’s leader and three lawyers who were jailed and accused of organizing the blockade. Local leaders criticized the arrests and authorities for criminalizing protests. The chain of events has sparked protests across Peru.
On Wednesday, a government team was sent to deal with the tensions against the Chinese-owned mine. The team was repelled by indigenous protesters hurling rocks at its helicopter. The community says the government men were sent to discredit community demands.
Fuerabamba is a village near the mine. In early February, community members of Fuerabamba started blocking the road to the mine. They used the blockade to leverage demands for proper compensation from the mine that transports copper from Las Bambas on a road through community farmland.
The dispute has grown into wider regional complaints and calls for justice. On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters from villages near Las Bambas marched on the road to the mine calling for the release of Fuerabamba’s leaders.
Image: screenshot from video on Twitter