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An indigenous community of Monte Olivo, in Coban, Guatemala, provided the details of police brutality, including house raids, for resisting Hidro Santa Rita dam, in a press conference held this week.
“We demand justice for our friends who were massacred by the Police” read a sign people were carrying on their way to the funeral of Luciano Can, Oscar Chen and Sebastian Rax in Chisec Alta Verapaz. Over 2,000 people attended the funeral of the residents of the communities harassed by the Guatemalan National Civilian Police.
On August 17th, there was a memorial service for three community members who died as a result of police aggression. In their funeral, people demanded justice and raised awareness about what is happening to the community.
The Rigoberta Menchu Tum foundation, led by Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize, said in a press release that “during the attempt to evict people by Lajuj officer in coordination with the Minister of Government of Alta Verapaz they sent nearly 100 cars of the National Civil Police, as if it was a community with dangerous criminals.
The deployment of a big contingent of security forces, the use of brutal force by the police and the tear gases thrown show that a policy of terror has been imposed and that people, communities and organizations that defend the right to land and territory are increasingly being criminalized”.
The communities are resisting the construction of a hydroelectric dam owned by Hidro Santa Rita company, in Dolores river.
The Coordination of NGOs and Cooperatives said in a press release that over a thousand police and army forces assaulted the members of the community, destroyed their houses, burned down their property and arrested a young person and “four peasant women who were unarmed”.
In a press release they denied the claims of Otto Perez Molina administration that there were clashes between community members. Grassroots media of Guatemala are reporting that the Minister of Government, Mauricio Lopez Bonilla, led the operation where three residents of Monte Olivo were killed.
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