After the Peruvian Police freed indigenous community leader Gregorio Rojas, another wave of protests stormed in front of the Chinese copper mine in Challhuahuacho. According to a report by Reuters, protesters camped out in front of Las Bambas. They also planned to stay there until the group’s lawyers were released as well.
The protesters insisted that their leader and his lawyers are not criminals and are demanded by the community to be released. Protester Serefina Huacha told the reporter from Reuters that she and other protesters won’t leave.
The reason for the protests was because the Fuerambamba community was relocated so that Las Bambas could take over. However, the community complained that the MMG did not fulfill its promises in properly relocating the community. MMG is a company that is owned by parent company China Minmetals and has been controlling the copper mining operations.
Despite the unrest, vice president of Fuerabamba Edison Vargas was arrested on Friday. This later fueled unrest which led to further unrest. Vargas was arrested following the injury of two officers due to Vargas running them over in a drunken driving rage.
Due to this, protesters stormed to the front of the police station where Vargas was being detained. The protesters did not choose to comment on the police report. Even representative of the Ombudsman Americo Contreras also stated that it was a bit too early to conclude what happened.
President of Peru Martin Vizcarra has reported that he would be calling for peaceful dialogues with the protesters so that the conflict can be resolved diplomatically.
On the other side of the coin, MMG made a statement saying that the protest has quelled the supply line of the transportation, slowing down production in the process. MMG representative also stated that this delay would cause the economic trouble as a whole if things are not settled right away.