For Immediate Release Contact:
Ana Maria Quispe (201) 463-0203 and Leonard Morin (646) 596 7301 (both contacts English and Spanish)

3 ACTIVISTS CHAINED THEMSELVES TO DOORS OF CHUCK SCHUMER'S OFFICE BUILDING IN PROTEST OF HIS VOTE FOR THE PERU FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

Activists Accuse Schumer of Complicity in Peru Massacre New York – This afternoon at around 1:00 pm, three activists chained themselves at the neck to the doors of Chuck Schumer's office building at 757 3rdAvenue at 47thStreet in Manhattan, shutting down access to the building. The activists charge Schumer with complicity in the murder of dozens of indigenous Peruvians killed over the weekend in a wave of repression against indigenous people engaged in nonviolent protest against the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement. Peruvian President Alan Garcia has used the FTA as a pretext to institute new laws that usher in an unprecedented wave of extractive industries – expanding logging, oil and gas drilling, mining, and destructive agriculture into the Amazon Rainforest.

The action at Schumer’s office followed a demonstration at the Peruvian Consulate in Manhattan at 241 East 49th St., at which Trade Justice and the Tiksigroup, a Peruvian cultural organization in New Jersey, handed over a statement condemning the massacre carried out by the Peruvian police under President Alan García’s orders. There were over 120 protestors present at the two locations of different organizations and nationalities.

Members of Trade Justice NY Metro had met with Schumer's staff twice before the Peru Free Trade Agreement vote, presenting him with reports from the Washington Office on Latin America predicting violence and instability if the agreement passed. The visits included representatives of indigenous Peruvian communities, who explained that the trade agreement would destroy their way of life. Nonetheless, Schumer voted for the agreement.

According to Peruvian indigenous activist Ana Maria Quispe, of the Tiksigroup, “Chuck Schumer, President Obama, and other politicians who supported the Peru Free Trade Agreement need to be held accountable for an agreement that they were warned would have disastrous human rights and environmental consequences. Unfortunately, they were more interested in serving the real beneficiaries of this agreement -- the same financial industry giants responsible for the current economic crisis. Schumer, President Obama, and other Democrats need to take responsibility for this disaster and repeal the Peru Free Trade Agreement.”

On Friday, Peru's police forces began what the Vice President of the UN Indigenous Forum has termed a “massacre” of Peruvian indigenous peoples engaged in a nonviolent blockade of a road outside of Bagua, in a remote area of the northern Peruvian Amazon. Several thousand indigenous people were forcibly dispersed by tear gas and real bullets shot and as many as 100 have died – including three children. According to a local indigenous leader, police burned the dead indigenous people and dumped their remains into the Marañón River. Eight police officers were also killed in the ensuing melee.

Thursday, June 11 is planned as an international day of action in solidarity with the indigenous populations of the Peruvian Amazon. A noon demonstration is planned at the Peruvian Consulate in Paterson, NJ at 100 Hamilton St (Hamilton Plaza).

Experts Available for Interview:
NYC Rainforest Wood Use: Tim Keating (917) 543-4064 NYS Procurement & Peru
Free Trade: Jim Mays (845) 657 2013 – Video Footage Available upon Request
More Info: www.stopperufta.org * www.rainforestrelief.org

[Photos by Jed B.]