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Ecuador, Indians trade blame for bloody clashes

Al Jazeera
At least one person is thought to have been killed after police in Ecuador battled Amazon Indians protesting against laws they believe will threaten their lands.

At least 29 policemen were wounded in the clash on Wednesday, which took place in Ecuador’s southeastern Morona Santiago jungle province, where Indian groups have been blocking roads as part of their protest.

“We can confirm that there are 29 policemen injured and one civilian is presumed dead,” said Gustavo Jalkh, a government minister.

…Conaie split with Correa after he refused to grant Indians the right to veto concessions granted to companies exploiting natural resources on their lands under a constitution approved last year.

The laws are expected to be passed by the national assembly, which is controlled by Correa’s party and its allies.

The confederation called for a blocked of highways in Morona Santiago on Monday to protest proposed water, oil and mining laws that they say threaten their lands and will privatise water resources…
(1 Oct 2009)

Greenpeace protesters target Alberta oilsands again

Dave Cooper and Richard Warnica, Edmonton Journal
Greenpeace activists who stopped four huge conveyor belts that feed a Suncor upgrader on Wednesday breached the site north of Fort McMurray by floating down the Athabasca River.

“We’re sitting under their bridge—what we’re dubbing the Bridge to Climate Hell,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Jessica Wilson.

“But our other activists are on their site.”

Wilson said 11 of the group left the boats to chain themselves first to two and then to four conveyors between the hopper and crusher, which grinds the chunks of bitumen and sand so it can be mixed with water and put in a slurry pipeline en route to the plant.

Suncor discovered the intrusion just after 7:30 a.m. The company has since closed off the affected section, said spokeswoman Sneh Seetal, but regular operations on the rest of the site continue.

Cox said the protest is not about Suncor alone, but about a “global addiction to dirty oil.”

He said the activists know they could be arrested for their participation in the protest…
(30 Sept 2009)

Nigeria’s oil rebels name mediators

Nigeria’s main rebel group in the oil-rich south on Tuesday named a team of mediators to open talks with authorities ahead of a deadline to disarm before this weekend.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an email statement that a team of “eminent Nigerians”, including a former military chief and a Nobel laureate, would negotiate with the government on its behalf.

“Some eminent Nigerians have graciously accepted to dialogue on behalf of the …MEND with the federal government of Nigeria whenever the government realizes the need to adopt serious, meaningful dialogue as a means to halting the violent agitation in the Niger Delta,” it said.

Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka will be on the four-member panel as an observer, MEND said. Former chief of general staff and retired naval vice admiral Okhai Mike Akhigbe is one of the mediators.

MEND’s announcement came as its leader Henry Okah said unrest was likely to continue in the Niger Delta after the amnesty deadline expires on Sunday because the root cause of the violence had not been addressed.
(28 Sept 2009)