Amazon leader condemns violence probe

A Peruvian Indian representative condemned the results of an official probe into bloody June clashes between police and Amazon Indians that left 33 dead.

Awajun Indian Jesus Manaces said he was refusing to sign the final report for an investigation that he was appointed to, saying the document was slanted toward the government.

The report said the government failed to consult Indians about decrees affecting their lands, but blames Indians – egged on by non-governmental organisations – for starting the violence in Peru’s northern Amazon.

The results were received yesterday by President Alan Garcia’s Cabinet chief, Javier Velasquez.

But only four committee members for the investigation out of seven signed off on the final report: a Roman Catholic priest and three former politicians who held high-ranking posts in Garcia’s government.

“Will this upset indigenous communities? Definitely,” Mr Manaces said. “We cannot call this consensus.”

Asked if he expected the report to cause further unrest, Mr Manaces said: “That’s certainly the expectation.”

Peru’s Amazon Indians blockaded jungle highways and rivers on and off for nearly a year to protest against oil and mining development on their lands and 11 pro-investment decrees issued by Mr Garcia in 2008.

Congress repealed two of the decrees in August 2008, and two more following June clashes that left 10 civilians and 23 police dead, with 82 civilians wounded by gunfire.

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