Guatemalan forces attack nonviolent resistance

by Mary Ann McGivern

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On Friday, hundreds of riot police marched into the low hills near Guatemala City and attacked the people maintaining a watch over the road to a proposed mining site, La Puya. Residents have been maintaining this watch for more than two years because water is scarce there and gold mining would both deplete and contaminate the aquifer.

CONFREGUA, the Guatemalan conference of Catholic religious leadership, has been standing with the local community, even taking watches there. On Saturday, CONFREGUA sent the letter below out to all the member communities.

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

With great pain and sorrow we want to let you know that a group of consecrated persons were witnesses of the brutal and inhuman removal of the Pacific Resistance at La Puya in San Jose del Golfo. The action was taken by the repressive forces of the State of Guatemala, with direct orders of the Central Government, obeying the foreign corporations.

The repressive government forces cowardly attacked girls, boys, women and elderly persons, hitting them with steel weapons, stones, kicks, and blows. When the people did not respond and remained quiet, they began to throw pepper gas and tear gas bombs.

Upon seeing the cowardly and inhuman treatment, the rest of the population began defending themselves, so that there was an attack on everyone present. There are many wounded, some critically and also some were detained.

The people were very hurt. They cried and yelled at their attackers that they were only defending LIFE, WATER, THEIR MEANS OF SUBSISTENCE, THEIR LAND.

Presently the people have gathered again in the place of resistance. They request prayers and accompaniment. We are organizing according to community groups and/or congregations to accompany and encourage them. To prepare an organization chart, let us know what days and shifts you can take if you can help out.

We appeal to the mission that we as Consecrated women have: To build the Life of the Kingdom of our Father God here upon earth.

We trust that God our Father will give strength and faith to our sisters and brothers in Resistance. We will continue to be in touch.

The Board of Directors of CONFREGUA (Guatemalan Conference of Religious)
Saturday, May 24, 2014

More will follow about this terrible situation.

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