People protesting a new cyanide plant in northern Mexico were confronted by the anti-riot police, who dispersed the crowd and arrested some activists, on the weekend.
Members of the United Front of La Laguna Peoples in Defense of Life and Land (Upldvt) have been protesting the “Chemours Laguna” project in the Gomez Palacio Municipality of Durango, which will produce 65 thousand tons of cyanide if it starts operating, by blocking roads that lead to the plant site.
On March 9, more than 200 municipal and state anti-riot police officers clashed with the protestors, beating, shooting and arresting them. More than 500 landowners and environmental protesters showed up at 5 a.m. at the La Aurora ranch to protest. By 10 a.m. the riot-police were already there to have a “dialogue” with them.
After the clash started, the other local and state police authorities and the firefighters' department began arriving to support the riot-police. Then, officers reportedly used sticks, rocks, extinguishers and tear gas against the protesters, who in turn answered with stones and Molotov cocktails, resulting in three officers injured.
“The anti-riot police used firearms and one of the protestors was hurt,” the Upldvt and the Affected by Mining Mexican Network (REMA) said. Both organizations made Jaime Lopez, Director of Citizens Attention of Gomez Palacio, Mayor Leticia Herrera and Governor Jose Rosas responsible for the violent acts.
Saturnino Hernandez, Horacio Ramirez, Luis Mario Carrillo were injured during the protests, while Avelino Rodriguez and a school teacher were arrested.
The organizations also denounced that police officers were looking for “the front's most visible members house by house.”
The front is integrated by different collectives, including the Pasta de Conchos Family, the Citizens' Regional Front in Defense of Sovereignty, the Citizens' Coordinator of La Laguna and the Socioenvironmental Collective Action.
They are calling for dialogue with the government and expect to hold accountable all responsible authorities for the illegal authorization of the project, and the violent police action against the protestors.
Activists claim the Sodium Cyanide production represents an environmental threat to the La Laguna region.