Eyewitness account of killings published

June 19, 2009

A wounded protester is beaten by police, Bagua, Peru © Marijke Deleu and Thomas Quirynen

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An eyewitness account of the killings in Peru which caused shockwaves around the world has been published by Survival International. The report contains shocking photos by two Belgians, Marijke Deleu and Thomas Quirynen, who were caught up in the violence and were themselves shot at.

The report, 'Death at Devil's Bend: an eyewitness account' provides a dramatic narrative of the day's events, which ended with a large number of people, both police officers and Indigenous protesters, dead. (The exact numbers are still unclear.)

The release of the report comes shortly after the arrival of Indigenous leader Alberto Pizango in Nicaragua. Pizango, president of Peru’s Amazon Indian organisation, AIDESEP, sought asylum in that country after being charged with ‘sedition’ against the Peruvian government. Several other AIDESEP leaders have also been charged.

The charges are part of a wider government crackdown. Seven congressmen and -women have been suspended, a radio that broadcast coverage of the violence in the town of Bagua has had its licence withdrawn, and moves are afoot to clamp down on NGOs.

One Cabinet minister has resigned following the violence. Peru’s Prime Minister, Yehude Simon, has said he will also resign when ‘calm’ in the country is restored.

Meanwhile, thousands of people around the world have come out in support of Peru’s Indigenous people. These include film star Q’orianka Kilcher, of Indigenous Peruvian descent, who played Pocahontas in the film ‘The New World’.

Download the report 'Death at Devil's Bend: an eyewitness account' (PDF)