Photo Credit: Amnesty London Photography
On 1 June Colombians, Latin Americans, British people, and people from other countries peacefully gathered outside the Colombian embassy in London in solidarity with the people of Tolima, Colombia, whose livelihoods are under threat by the devastating consequences posed by the La Colosa gold mining project. The picket outside the Colombian embassy was timed to coincide with a march in Ibagué (the nearest major city in the area) on 5 June, when thousands of people are expected to take to the streets to voice their opposition to the mining project. The demonstration was well-attended, during which slogans were chanted in English and Spanish to reinforce the message that water and food sovereignty are more important than gold. The protest culminated with this letter being handed to Colombian embassy officials by representatives of various social and environmental organizations from London. The letter expresses concern about the AngloGold Ashanti gold mining project, and presents several reasons why this project should not go ahead.
Earlier on the same afternoon, a protest was held outside the Peruvian embassy, a short distance away, against environmental and human rights abuses of multinational mining companies in Peru. Protesters voiced concerns about the proposed Conga gold mining project, which was recently given approval by President Ollanta Humala despite pledging during his presidential campaign that he would not give the project the go-ahead. There were also calls to end the brutal repression in Espinar, in the Cusco region, where protests against an XStrata copper mine have lead to four deaths in recent days. According to OCMAL, Peru currently has 27 conflicts related to mining, more than any other country in Latin America. Colombia currently has 16 conflicts, but it is feared that it will soon overtake Peru if President Santos continues with his policy of handing over huge swathes of the country to mining multinationals, due to the environmental impacts and displacement of communities often caused by these projects.
Further information can be viewed at the following media reports:
Photos outside the Colombian embassy:
Photos outside the Peruvian embassy:http://www.flickr.com/photos/amnestylondon/sets/72157630014047204/