Banner of All Nations United in Protest (Brayan Coraza Morveli)
Today, January 18th, under gray skies, Cusco lives a protest against mining in the zone of Qoyllur Rit’i. The Council of Pilgrim Nations to the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i as well as the nations of Paucartambo, Quispicanchis, Canchis, Acomayo, Urubamba, and Anta. They gathered together to protest strongly since in the last two years mining has gotten ever closer to the sanctuary of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i, one of the holiest sites in Cusco, where pilgrims travel each year.
The Plaza de Armas of the City of Cusco experiences this strong and vibrant protest directed to the municipal and regional authorities of Cusco. In the doorstep of the amazing and ornate Compañía de Jesus church on the Plaza, they show a banner stuck to the wall announcing that the mining companies come, people go there to make money, but then the companies pull out and leave the land infertile, dead.
This is a colorful protest. Each of the nations has dance groups we call comparsas. They arrived this morning in full regalia accompanied by musicians, flags, and signs. “Illegal Mining Out!” “Stop Illegal Mining!” “Return it to the Pilgrims!” “Down with Illegal Mining!” There were many more. The gathered in Regocijo Square and the made their voices against mining felt.
All the nations of Cusco gathered hoping to have a dialogue with the city’s mayor to resolve the problems that affect so strongly the lands of that region. Of course the mass media were present to cover this important event. Directors of each of the 12 Pilgrim Nations spoke and said that the march was a preventive measure and that if they were not heard they would take radical measures on the 23rd and 24th of this month, January.
Crowds were present to participate and watch. Tourists as well as Peruvians were there taking pictures with the dancers and also analyzing the costumes they wore. They are very colorful and call attention strongly.
The dancers carried in their hands protest banners and signs. Each had the same idea, they want to obtain the same objective which is to drive mining constructions away from the sanctuary and the holy mountain. On their chests and in their hands they carried small and beautiful urns of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i.
After the meeting in the Plaza Regocijo, the danced and protested on the Plaza de Armas, in front of the Cathedral, where they made an entire scene with protest signs against mining. Every one there raised their voice in unity “Stop Mining!” “Protect the Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i!”