During the past few days, reports have emerged from Peru that during a stand-off between Amazon Indians and troops, a massacre of the protestors is being compared to the Chinese Tiananmen Square horror. Supporters of Alberto Pizango, head of Aidesep, a coalition of 56 Amazon Indian tribes, confronted troops on a highway. The group was protesting enactment of a new law that would open huge areas of Indian ancestral lands to oil and gas exploration. The 2,000 Indians were armed with spears and machetes but these were of scant use when troops opened fire. Survival, a UK human rights organization, claims the event became an Amazon Tiananmen massacre in which allegedly hundreds of Indians were killed. They report troops burned and buried scores of bodies to cover up the slaughter.
Alberto Pizango took refuge in the Nicaraguan embassy and has been flown out of the country for his safety. The Peru parliament has suspended the new law for ninety days until an investigation can discover exactly what happened on the highway. Oil and gas invariably are more important to modern people than the land which belongs to Indians.