Peru Indian leader on trial for highway massacre

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Associated Press

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 8:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 10:04 PM

LIMA, Peru (AP) — The leader of Peru's main indigenous group and 52 other people have gone on trial in the killings of 12 police officers in a 2009 clash when security forces tried to violently break up a protest against logging and oil drilling in the Amazon.

Alberto Pizango, president of the indigenous group AIDESEP, said as the trial opened Wednesday that he is innocent of the murder charges.

In all, 22 police officers and 10 civilians were killed near the city of Bagua when authorities opened fire on protesters at a road blockade. At least 200 protesters were wounded and some police were killed with spears.

The protest was against a legislative decree to open the Amazon to natural resource extraction without local consent. It was later rescinded.

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