Sandra Sebastián accompanies her photographs of the demonstration against the cement plant in San Juan Sacatepéquez with some background.
“Thousands of community members of San Juan Sacatepéquez demonstrated in front of the San Gabriel cement factory to reject the commencement of its operations.
President Otto Pérez Molina took part in the inauguration of the plant despite opposition from the population. The president broke ground in the ceremony in which also attended ministers, ambassadors, mayors and representatives of the private sector.
The Project will involve an investment of $720 million and will end in 2016.
Pérez Molina said to the media that “he assures (the population) that there will be no contamination”. He also pointed out that “there are only a few who oppose the cement factory”. However, the demonstrators stated that thousands are demanding its removal because contamination threatens the community’s water sources.
The residents of San Juan Sacatepéquez have achieved various protests to demand the removal of the plant from the community. This includes, two years ago, a ‘community referendum’ in which more than 80 percent of the population demanded the removal of the plant, an opinion that was ignored by the authorities.
At the entrance to the plant many agents of the PNC were posted to dissuade the demonstrators. Nevertheless, the demonstration passed of peacefully.
This protest is in addition to the dozens of demonstrations in the last few years promoted by indigenous organisations and campesinos who reject the mineral and natural resource exploitation in their communities.”
You can view the great photos accompanying this article (in Spanish) here on Plaza Pública.