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REITOCA COMMUNITY FACES REPRESSION OVER RESISTANCE AGAINST HYDROELECTRIC DAM

Police and military officers and private security guards of company PROGELSA shot with tear gas and pellets against the community

Since January 2018, the population of Reitoca, a municipality of Francisco Morazan department, Honduras, is controlling the territories of the high areas of the town, where they set up a campsite to prevent a hydroelectric dam from being built on Petacón River.

In the afternoon of Wednesday 24, police officers and members of the Tigre security forces came to forcibly evict them. They attacked the community members with tear gasses and rubber bullets, while the private security guards of PROGELSA shot live ammunition, as denounced by Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC).

So far, a young man was injured as a result of the attacks, said Gisela Rodas, inhabitant of Reitoca, in communication with Real World Radio.

The defenders of the territory remain alert. Rodas warned: “If something happens to the people, we blame the Honduran government and PROGELSA”.

“We were never consulted about the dam, and if we had been consulted we would have said NO. This is the only river for us, since we are in a dry corridor and it hardly ever rains”, she added.

ATALC condemned these violent attacks against the people who are exercising their “legitimate right to defend their territory and who have avoided water privatization, contributing with the protection of forests, air and water, which are sacred for indigenous people but also for humankind”.

Environmental organizations gathered in ATALC made an urgent call on April 25th to all institutions and organizations that defend human rights and the environment “to remain alert about these violent acts against our Lenca indigenous comrades of Reitoca”.