Amazon Indians Win Repeal of Land Grab Laws

Decision hailed as major victory for indigenous people
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2009 5:05 AM CDT
Peru's Cabinet chief Yehude Simon, center, pose with Amazon Indians after submitting a proposal to Congress that would revoke two decrees contested by Indian groups in Lima yesterday.   (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
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(Newser) – Peru's Congress has revoked two laws that led to bloody clashes between police and indigenous protesters, CNN reports. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of ditching the laws that opened up the country's Amazon region to mining, logging, and oil companies. Dozens of people died earlier this month when police moved in on indigenous people blocking roads to protest the exploitation of their ancestral lands.

"We are thankful because the will of the indigenous people has been heard and we only hope that, in the future, government will pay attention to and listen to the people and not legislate behind their backs," said the leader of an indigenous group, urging its members to abandon their protests. She added that lives could have been saved if the government had acted earlier.