Peru Indian protest leader arrives in Nicaragua

June 18, 2009 06:36

Peruvian indigenous leader Alberto Pizango arrived Wednesday in Nicaragua, where he has been granted political asylum after facing charges in his homeland for his role in protests against Amazon development that turned bloody. Pizango left Lima on a Copa Airlines flight and was greeted in Managua by a Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry representative. Pizango said he was "astonished, very concerned and very pained" by the deaths, which occurred during protests by Indian groups opposed to government decrees they say will speed the sale of their ancestral lands for oil and gas projects. Peru's Amazon-based indigenous peoples have been opposing the decrees since last year, but on June 5 the protests erupted in clashes that left 24 police dead. Indian leaders say at least 30 civilians died.

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