Amazon Indians' protest forces repeal of laws

Protests by thousands of Indians across the Peruvian Amazon have led to the repeal of two controversial laws by the Peruvian Congress.

The protests were in response to new laws decreed by President Garcia that the Indians said undermined their rights and made it easier for outsiders to seize control of their territories.

Following ten days of protests, Congress voted to repeal two of the most controversial laws – Legislative Decrees 1015 and 1073. The leader of Peru’s national Amazon Indian organisation, AIDESEP, described the decision as heralding a ‘new dawn’ for indigenous peoples in Peru.

The protests, called off last week, involved an estimated 14,000 Indians.  Roads and a river were blockaded, an oil pipeline picketed, and a hydroelectric plant surrounded.

The repeal of the two laws must be approved by Peru’s Executive.