Dam protests met with repression in Ixil region of Guatemala

This video footage compiled by Guatevision includes a selection of brief clips showing some of the protests and state response.

On April 28th, a massive contingent of police was sent into the Ixil triangle in Guatemala to evict a road blockade by Mayan communities protesting the Xacbal Delta hydroelectric dam currently under construction.

Miguel de Léon, one of the traditional Mayan authorities in the region stated, “For defending their lands, the Ixil people are once again suffering state repression.”

Sandra Cuffe explains that the 94 megawatt Hidro Xacbal hydroelectric dam on the Xacbal river was inaugurated in 2010 and construction of the 75 MW Hidro Xacbal Delta dam, a second project on the same river, is currently underway. Both projects have been subject to local opposition and protests over the years. They are privately owned by the Terra Group, a Central American energy, infrastructure and real estate conglomerate, the president of which is the son-in-law of one of the richest and most powerful landowners and businessmen in Honduras.

On April 28th, a contingent of more than thirty national police vehicles transporting an estimated 200 police officers wound its way through the Cuchumatanes mountains to evict the protesters. They were met with resistance. Police used tear gas on the protesters and detained four people. One police officer reportedly suffered a gunshot wound to the arm, several children reportedly needed medical attention due to the tear gas, and some community members reportedly suffered unspecified injuries but did not seek medical attention for fear of being arrested.

The police force was sent in to evict local community residents blockading a road by Sotzil, where several communities in the area have been denouncing the impacts of a four-kilometre diversion tunnel since at least last year. The company failed to make the payments to Sotzil residents and didn’t show up to a scheduled dialogue session with locals, prompting the blockade.

You can read Sandra’s full article posted on Beacon, here.

Categories: Indigenous peoples, Justice, Land, Video, Violence


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