Ecuador: Peasant Arrested In Lago Agrio Under OCP Demand

August 8, 2002

Approximately 100 peasants affected by OCP pipeline construction marched in the streets of Lago Agrio, Ecuador this morning, and headed to the Mayor Head Offices, protesting against the violent and repressive involvement of the state armed forces in every stage of the construction process of the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline (OCP - Oleoducto de Crudos Pesados). Afterwards they headed towards the city´s State Attorney Offices in order to demand the freedom and immediate release of Mr. Juan Chasipanta Coquilago, who has been imprisoned since July 16th, when he was arrested, with other six people, who identify themselves as ?Affected by OCP? and resist the laying of the pipeline through their properties.

After the march was over, the police arrested Mr. Manuel Lopez, coordinator of the Province´s Network of People Affected by OCP (Red Provincial de Afectados por el OCP), because OCP has placed a demand for retention of machinery.

This action once again unveils the series of social conflicts unleashed by OCP in different places of the country, and the support and unconditional subservience of the National Police Force to trans-national companies and to OCP, in flagrant contradiction of its mission of looking after the well being and security of Ecuadorian Citizens.

We strongly reject this human rights abuse against the integrity of people that resist a project, that so far has caused great environmental damages and conflicts with peasant communities all along the route (from Lago Agrio in the Ecuadorian Amazon, across the Andes, to the Pacific port of Balao), and which also drags a long story filled with evidences of corruption and bribery, threats and repression.

We demand the immediate release and freedom of Mr. Manuel Lopez and Mr. Juan Chasipanta Coquilago, unfairly detained in Lago Agrio city.

Please send an email, fax of phone the following people:

Doctor
Gustavo Noboa Bejarano
President of the Republic of Ecuador
Calle García Moreno y espejo
Fax: (5932) 2-584518
Correo electrónico: despresi@presidencia.ec-gov.net

Sr. Ing.
Rodolfo Barniol
Minister of Interior (Government and Police)
Fax: (5932) 2580067

Sra. Dra.
Mariana Yepez
State General Attorney
TEL: (593 2) 2222 766 / 2222 816 / 2222 734
fiscalia@uio.satnet.net

We need all your support
Thank you
Ivonne Yanez, Acción Ecológica/ Friends of the Earth Ecuador
Email: ivito99@yahoo.com

Example Fax:

Dear

We demand the immediate release and freedom of Mr. Manuel Lopez and Mr. Juan Chasipanta Coquilago, from the Red Provincial de Afectados por el OCP. These people have been unfairly arrested, because of resisting to the OCP pipeline laying through their properties.

This is a new repressive action with participation of the National Ecuadorian Police Force, arresting Ecuadorian citizens, UNDER COMMAND OF OCP Ltd. PRIVATE CONSORTIUM.

You Mr President, Mr. Minister of Government, and Ms. General Attornew are RESPONSIBLE by not stopping this chain of abuses, which cannot have a place in a democratic system.

Until now there have been 25 arrests in Lago Agrio, and 34 in the Mindo-Nambillo cloud forest region, of people affected by the impacts of this private consortium activities.

The Ministry of Government and Police is responsible of looking after the peace and safety of the population, the maintenance of the democratic regime and the unrestricted respect of the Constitution and Human Rights.

We demand an immediate halt to this kind of action, which has been requested by a private consortium, and executed by the National Police Force of Ecuador.

We demand the immediate release and freedom of these people.

Sincerely Yours,

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