PBI webinar on police violence to include The Peaceful Resistance of La Puya, October 30

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Peace Brigades International will be hosting a webinar on Friday October 30 at 10 am ET that focuses on the issue of police violence featuring defenders from Kenya, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and Canada sharing their experiences and analysis.

To register for the webinar, please click here.

One of the featured speakers will be a representative from the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya in Guatemala.

In March 2012 residents from San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc – an area known as La Puya, just north of Guatemala City – set up a peaceful, 24-hour a day blockade at the entrance of the Vancouver-based Radius Gold Inc. El Tambor mine.

The mine was established without prior consultation and there were concerns about the impacts it would have on the water and environment.

The Institute for Policy Studies and Earthworks have noted: “Under the leadership of a retired Lieutenant Colonel that served during the genocidal dictatorship of Efraín Ríos Montt, the police drew up counter-insurgency-style security plans aimed at breaking up the opposition movement, known as the Peaceful Resistance La Puya.”

PBI-Guatemala then notes: “Before dawn on the 23rd of May, heavy machinery from the mining company arrived at the protest camp. Shortly thereafter some 35 vehicles of the National Civilian Police (PNC) began to appear, amassing a contingent of approximately 500 officers. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon the police force began the eviction.”

PBI-Guatemala adds: “PBI bore witness to an excessive and disproportionate use of force by the PNC during the eviction. Employing teargas, clubs and stones alike, the police attacked the men and women of the non-violent protest camp indiscriminately, who resisted the eviction with their hymns and prayers.”

The two PBI-Guatemala volunteers who witnessed this eviction had their temporary residence permits revoked and were threatened with expulsion.

To hear more from the Peaceful Resistance about their experience with the police as land defenders opposed to a megaproject, please join our webinar.

To register for the webinar, please click here.

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