panamá 2007 | panamá | bayano | archivos de los protestos globales

Kuna demand indemnification for the building of the hydroelectric dam Bayano

Last week there were two days clashes with units of the national police.

Building tension caused by protests of the indigenous Kuna

More than 300 Kuna of Madungandí blocked for the second day on a row the Panamerican Highway at Bayanolake to demand the indemnification of 60 milion dollar the government promised them years ago for their land. In the 70s the government build the hydroelectric dam in the Bayano river and inudated their land. The spokesperson of the Kuna declared they are tired of charity while others receive milions.

At 7 o'clock in the morning the viceminister of justice Severino Mejía visited the place of action and listened to the indigenous people. He invited them to meet with the authories later that day and requested them to leave the highway, which has been blocked on tuesday as well for 8 hours. After considering the proposals of Mejía the Kuna decided to stay on the highway, which is leading to the province of Darién, until president Martín Torrijos came and started a dialoge with them. To guarantee the result of the action people started to build barricades at about 800 metres from the bridge on the river Bayano.

While one of the spokespersons of the Kuna explained they decided to stay and keep the road blocked, because the earth is not producing like before, because they have no food and the lake is bringing them only misery, the first teargasgrenade exploded.

At about 10 o'clock in the morning the police started to evict the highway and was received with stones, sticks and huntingrifles. And the police acted even more violent. Soon the crying of the children, the screaming of the women and the protests of the men started, while they fled for the policeofficers. Meanwhile there was everywhere the sound of teargasgrenades fired at them before they dropped on the asphalt of the Panamerican Highway.

As the suffocating gas reached the group of people they start to have trouble breathing. Until the less brave lost courage.

The 8months old baby of Oneida Lasso (19 years) almost died by suffocation after breathing the teargas, thrown by units of the riotpolice who entered the Panamerican Highway close to the bridge over the river Bayano.

In the end 97 Kuna were arrested, including 10 under age. 3 Kuna were injured very seriously and 12 Kuna and 7 policeofficers were slightly hurt. Doctor Edgardo Guerrero, of the policlinic of Cañita, told the 3 Kuna urgently needed a surgeon and an oculist, because they were injured by a huntingrifle. One of the seriously injured is Víctor Ávila, 27 years, who is injured in his chest.

By lack of ambulances the firebrigade of Chepo transported the seriously injured to the regional hospital in Chepo. The doctors explained the injured should stay in the hospital for 24 hours for observations and care.

The viceminister of justice, Severino Mejía, told that the people who were arrested were brought to the prison in Chepo, because they were charged with the 'use of deathly violence against authorities'. He told there were still 14 Kuna in jail.

The lawyer of the Kuna is trying everything to get them released as soon as posible.

2007 | panamá | bayano | (archives) |