Perenco and armed forces break Indigenous blockade

May 6, 2009

Crossed spears left by uncontacted Indians in the region where Perenco is working.

Crossed spears left by uncontacted Indians in the region where Perenco is working. © Marek Wolodzko/AIDESEP

This page was created in 2009 and may contain language which is now outdated.

A gunboat belonging to Peru’s armed forces has broken through an Indian river blockade in the northern Peruvian Amazon.

The gunboat, together with at least one boat belonging to Anglo-French oil company Perenco, broke the blockade at 5:15 am on 4 May. The blockade, organised by local Indigenous people, is on the Napo river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon.

Peru’s Indigenous organisation, AIDESEP, condemned the use of a boat belonging to the armed forces, describing it as a ‘use and abuse of their power’. The blockade forms part of Amazon-wide protests by Peru’s Indigenous people against government policies and the invasion of their territories by multinational companies. The protests have been going on for almost a month.

Perenco holds the licence to work in a remote part of Peru known as Lot 67, accessible via the Napo River. It is an area inhabited by at least two of the world’s last uncontacted tribes – the company is under increasing pressure to withdraw from the project.

Less than a fortnight ago Perenco’s chairman, Francois Perrodo, met Peru’s president, Alan Garcia, in the presidential palace in Lima, pledging to invest US$2 billion in Lot 67. Just days later the government passed a law declaring Perenco’s work a ‘national necessity’.

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