October of 2019 was a month that will long be remembered as a period of extremely rapid social and political change accompanied and inspired by protest, in Peru as well as neighboring Chile and Bolivia. For decades if not centuries, there has been resistance against and protest of large-scale mining operations that are ruining the environment in Peru and polluting the soil as well as the water - against the will of the people who live there. This is especially true of foreign-owned and operated mines. The specific target of the protesters in October of 2019 was only the latest of a long list of protests that have resulted not only in huge levels of police repression, but, in fact, the army had to be again called in to put down the unrest.
The removal of the riches of the people by foreigners leaving the land desolate, and the profits in the hands of a few Peruvian politicians at the service of the Chinese and other foreign investors, has generated a great deal of resentment and resistance. Over the course of decades if not centuries, hundreds of protesters of mining and pollution operations have been killed in Peru, some by live ammunition, thousands more injured. This has resulted from a long, growing, and pervasive consciousness of the need to protect the environment against the ravages of mining.
In addition to the fact that climate-change activism is starting to take off in Peru, protests have long had this character of defending our natural environment, especially ‘our’ water.