Bishop Marco Antonio Cortez Lara of Tacna and Moquegua in Peru has begun mediating negotiations with a group of protesters that took 60 policemen hostage during a violent strike.
On Wednesday morning 12 police officers wounded by the captors were released. The others are being held inside the Church of Santo Domingo in Moquegua, which is in southern Peru.
Speaking on CPN Radio, Bishop Cortez said, “This is a difficult situation, and therefore we call on everyone to be calm because we can’t continue like this. The solution has not yet been found, but we are trying to initiate negotiations, which is what the Church urgently desires.”
He called on Peruvians to reflect calmly on the situation to determine what the next step should be, since “violence brings more violence, and the most important thing is peoples’ lives.”
Residents in the city of Moquegua have been protesting for an equal distribution of mining revenues. Some 20,000 protestors clashed with the police officers who attempted to disperse the crowds.