Squatters confront police in Peruvian jungle city

A confrontation between police officers and squatters in a Peruvian jungle city has left a 12-year-old boy dead and eight to 15 officers injured. According to Enlace Nacional, about 150 police officers entered the squatter settlement in Pucallpa, the capital of Ucayali Department, on Thursday morning. Police began to evict the settlers, estimated between 400 and 1,000 people, who had illegally settled two days earlier on the land owned by the Flaveci brick company.

Agencia Andina reported some of the squatters responded by attacking the officers with stones, sticks, machetes and Molotov cocktails, causing the police to withdraw. Four people were arrested, however the majority have not been evicted yet.

Squatter settlements are a major economic and social concern in Peru. In 2003, fighting between sugar plantation workers and squatters in northern Peru left 11 dead and 20 injured.

In May 2007, police evicted thousands of vendors who had setup a market on unoccupied space in Lima’s Santa Anita district. Many of the vendors lost not only their jobs, but also their homes after the tense standoff.

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