Peru’s government declared a state of emergency Monday in remote jungle regions where Indian groups are blocking highways and oil and gas installations to protest a law that makes it easier to sell their lands.
The 30-day decree published in the official gazette suspends rights to public gatherings and free transit in three northern provinces.
It follows nine days of protests by members of 65 Indian tribes and a clash Saturday in northern Peru between police and hundreds of spear-carrying Indians with painted faces. Lima newspaper El Comercio reported eight officers and four protesters were injured.
Alberto Pizango, president of an Indian rights group speaking for the protesters, warned the government to be “very careful” as it attempts to bring order to the affected regions.
The Indians are protesting a law that would let half of those attending a community assembly approve the sale of communal lands. Previously, two-thirds of the local community, whether they attended a meeting or not, had to approve any sale.