An indigenous Ngäbe protester, Onesimo Rodriguez, was killed last Friday 22 March 2013 in the hamlet of Las Nubes, Chiriquí province, after attending a rally against the controversial Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam. It was World Water day.
According to Manolo Miranda, a leader of the Moviemiento 10 de Abril (M10), the Ngabe and campesino resistance movement currently defending the Tabasará river, a migrant labourer from Hato Chami, 20-year-old Onésimo Rodríguez, was viciously attacked at a bus stop in the late afternoon after participating in a 200-strong solidarity march in the nearby town of Cerro Punta. Sr Rodríguez had also allegedly taken part in a protest camp near Vigui, broken up by riot squads last week.
According to M10, his bludgeoned and strangled corpse was recovered from a ditch on Saturday morning, along with a second seriously injured protester, apparently left for dead but now being cared for at an undisclosed location.
M10 have openly accused the police of orchestrating the murder, which they say was committed by four plain clothes officers wearing ski masks. The police have said the death was due to drunkenness.
The incident, which has been reported sparsely in the Panamanian media, occurs at a time of heightened tensions. The Ngabe – who number 200,000 and live in remote mountain communities across central and western Panama – are currently mobilizing to discuss further actions. As yet, the scale of their mobilization is unclear and it is not known whether they intend to close the country’s highways.
Your vigilance is requested at this uncertain time.
Sources in English:
Indigenous protester slain, another hurt, by masked gang in Cerro Punta http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_19/issue_03/news_01.html
Indigenous protester killed by masked assailants in Panama over UN-condemned dam http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0325-llewellyn-barro-blanco.html
Reportan un indigena muerto http://www.midiario.com/2013-03-23/interior/reportan-un-indigena-muerto
Denuncian nueva represion policial http://www.laestrella.com.pa/online/impreso/2013/03/24/denuncian-nueva-represion-policial.asp
Alerta por murete de otro indigena http://www.laestrella.com.pa/online/impreso/2013/03/25/alerta-por-muerte-de-otro-indigena.asp
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