By ANDREW WHALEN (AP) – 6 hours ago
LIMA, Peru — Relatives of police officers killed during a government crackdown on Amazon Indian protesters are seeking criminal charges against Peru’s former interior minister and three police chiefs, a lawyer said Thursday.
Ten civilians and 23 policemen were killed June 5 when a small, heavily armed troop of officers cleared a highway blockade where nearly 5,000 Indians were protesting development on their ancestral lands. Another officer is missing and presumed dead, while 200 civilians were wounded, 82 by gunshot, according to Peru’s ombudsman’s office.
Amnesty International has called the government’s investigations into the violence imbalanced, because no police have been implicated or arrested for their roles in the violence. More than 100 Indians are charged with crimes including murder and sedition.
Families of the dead police officers are now questioning the bloodshed as well.
We “are asking for justice and for the trial of those truly responsible on the highest political level,” said Flor Montenegro, widow of one of the killed officers, Capt. Miguel Montenegro.
The lawyer for the families, Antonio Salazar, told The Associated Press that he is filing a criminal complaint with the state attorney’s office against former Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas, former national police chief Gen. Jose Sanchez and two regional police chiefs. The families are asking that they be charged with negligence and abuse of authority, crimes that carry up to eight years prison time in Peru.
The government says the Indians instigated the violence. Indian protest leaders say police opened fire on the protesters, who then fought to take guns from the police.
Montenegro said at a news conference that political leaders should have found a peaceful solution to the protests, which began in early April.
“They had more than enough time to resolve it in two months but they did not have the tact or the intelligence,” she said.
Rony Garcia, brother of deceased police officer Jose Alberto Guzman, also criticized Peru’s leadership for ordering police to confront the Indians. “They sent them like lambs to sacrifice,” he said.
Bagua: Lambs to sacrifice
This note doesn’t need much comment from me. Basically the families of the police that died at Bagua are bringing criminal charges against the government officials that sent them in “like lambs to sacrifice” and want them locked up for as much as eight years to teach them a lesson. Y’see, there are smart people who can see through the lies inside the country, too. Read the first part then click through for the rest (and yet again applause for Andrew Whalen of AP, head and shoulders above the normal newswire dross for the umpteenth time).