Saturday, August 20, 2011

Indigenous Bolivians Gather to Protest Road through Amazon Rainforest

Aug 17, 2011
Source: International Business Times


On Monday, August 15, more than 500 protesters from a range of indigenous groups began a march in the Amazon city of Trinidad to protest the newest addition of a road that would run straight through the Amazon Rainforest.

The new road between the highland city of Cochabamba and San Ignacio de Moxos in the Amazon lowlands would cut through the of Isiboro-Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), which is home to dozens of indigenous ethnic Bolivian tribes including the Chiman, Yurucare and Moxos Indians who live by hunting, fishing and farming in the rainforest.

Protesters claim that construction of the road will open up the territory for illegal settlement, deforestation, logging and harvesting of coca- the plant used to produce cocaine.

The third stretch of road that would connect Southern Brazilian Amazon with ports on the Pacific coasts of Peru and Chile is already under construction, but natives are doing all they can to halt it saying that the government failed to protect its people, their livelihood and their surrounding territories.

The protesters plan to walk all the way to La Paz - Bolivia's main city in the Andean highlands - a 500km (310 mile) journey they expect will take a month to complete.

Bolivian indigenous people march in Trinidad August 15, 2011. Amazonian ethnic groups which live in the Isiboro Secure territory, known by its Spanish acronym TIPNIS, held a 370-mile (595-km) march from Trinidad, in the northern Beni province to La Paz on Monday to protest against the 185-mile (298-km) long highway that bisects the protected park in the Amazon forest, activists leading the march said. The banner reads, "rights of indigenous from TIPNIS territory"

A Bolivian indigenous man marches near Trinidad

Bolivian indigenous people gather before a protest march in Trinidad

Bolivian indigenous people start a protest march in Trinidad

People protest against the construction of the Villa Tunari - San Ignacio de Moxos highway in La Paz

Bolivian indigenous people participate in a march near Trinidad

People hold a Bolivian flag in protest against the construction of the Villa Tunari - San Ignacio de Moxos highway in La Paz. The sign reads, "progress murderer"

People gather at the TIPNIS headquarters before a protest march in Trinidad


Bolivian indigenous people take part in a protest march near Trinidad

A worker is seen near San Ignacio de Moxos in the third stretch of the road project that will pass through the national park of the TIPNIS
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