Women at the roadblock pray and sing as the face off against anti-riot police. (photo: Marcha Indigena Campesina y Popular)
Women lay down in the road continuing their resistance after suffering from tear gas exposure. (Photo: Marcha Indigena Campesian y Popular)
The police lined up in three rows, with the largest in front, the tear gas lauchers behind them, and a group with batons and sticks behind them. (photo: Centro de Medios Independientes Guatemala)
In response to the threat of eviction, women’s organizations gathered in front of the Interior Ministry demanding a peaceful settlement to the problem.
A “dialogue table” was called at the site of the roadblock including government representatives, community members, and human rights defenders, including GHRC’s Rob Mercatante. (photo: Radio Punto)
Alberto Brunori of the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights was also present. (photo: Radio Punto)
At the end of the day, the government agreed to remove the majority of the police, but leave 15 to “guard the mine.” (photo: Marcha Indigenia Campesina y Popular)
On December 7th, the communities in resistance to mining in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc held their ground at the roadblock they have maintained since March of this year as the police attempted to forcefully evict them.
At 6am, anti-riot police arrived at the roablock in San Jose del Golfo and began tearing down the banners and other installations. They also arrested at least 5 people for supposedly obstructing the road, though the protesters have only been blocking the entrance of mining equipment, not other traffic.
Police shot tear gas at the protesters, which include children and men and women of all ages. Several people, including two young girls, have been treated for tear gas exposure.
Despite this aggression, the peaceful protesters have held their ground. They laid down on the street with makeshift masks covering their faces, and sang hymns to give themselves courage. Meanwhile, the police tore apart the makeshift kitchen that the protesters have been using to feed themselves, and stole food and water.
Three pieces of breaking news at the end of the day.
1) Those detained at the roadblock this morning have been freed. They were taken to the city, but the judge there rejected their case and sent it back to the Judge of the Peace in San Pedro Ayampuc.
2) The government has agreed to remove the majority of the police from the roadblock. 15 of them will stay over the weekend to “guard the mine” but the rest of them will leave for now.
3) In statements directly contradicting this, the Interior Minister announced in a press conference that the government will take the steps necessary to open the road to the mine. He also insultingly accused “international organizations” of inciting the community members and said that those guilty of incitation would be expelled.