The Marcona district, located in the province of Nasca, Peru remains paralyzed as citizens support protesters participating in an indefinite strike against the Shougang mining project. Businesses as well as educational centers, remain closed. Public transport is restricted so buses and trucks cannot enter or leave the area. Workers from the Shoungang Hierro Peru mine in Marcona are protesting for reinstatement of more than 80 employees dismissed arbitrarily, reduced electricity rates and the supply of drinking water to the Ica district.
Luis Quispe Chumbi (38), a mining worker who participated in the Marcona protests was shot and killed by police on May 25. Radio Bomba Peru reported more than 200 residents of Marcona were seriously injured in the police repression May 25.
VIDEO: This is how the police killed Luis Quispe in Marcona
The Chinese company Shougang Hierro Peru SA operates two projects in Peru, the Cobriza copper mine and the iron mine of San Juan de Marcona acquired in 1992 for $118 million. In addition to polluting the environment, the company has faced many strikes due to labor abuses of the company.
Shougang company representatives issued a statement regarding the 80 dismissed workers claiming they are not responsible for the dismissal and citing that the affected workers were Coopsol staff. On April 18, Shougang terminated their contract with Coopsol. Shougang said they signed new agreement with another company that hired at least 40 of the dismissed workers.
Video uploaded to the Cadena Sur Marcona facebook page shows further police abuses on May 26 against citizens as police fired tear gas into private homes, tear gassing elderly and babies. Police claimed the homes were sheltering protesters who were attempting to avoid arrest. In the below video even journalists who were present ask the police to take into account the babies suffering asphyxia due to gases.
VIDEO: Battle in Peru 2 – Police throw tear gas at babies
Shougang faced a one month strike by the labor union in 2012 in order to improve wages and working conditions, highlighting issues related to health and worker accidents. The union also denounced the poor conditions of waste management, discharging waste into the sea, polluting the water and endangering marine life.
The Environmental Justice Atlas lists the Shougang mining project as an ongoing conflict. The project has been in operation since 1992 and has been plagued with complaints involving wages, working conditions, health issues and environmental damage as well as militarization and increased police presence in protests.