Cotuí, Dominican Republic.- At least 17 people were injured yesterday during violent protests staged by laid off workers of the mining company Barrick Gold in the town Pueblo Viejo, Cotui (northeast), to demand severance payment.
The injured were reportedly taken to different medical centers in Cotuí, where most the victims had shotgun pellets.
The protest by Barrick Gold ex workers had the support of community organizations in the area and forced the temporary suspension of the mining operations.
Meanwhile Barrick Gold’s Pueblo Viejo Corporation executive director Fernando Sanchez Albavera stated the company’s concern for the safety of its workers, which led to exit of all of the mining project’s personnel. “We’re a responsible company with our employees, contractors and the communities, and we have always stated that we are open to a discussion and to respond to any difference of opinions, we have been doing this since we arrived in the country.”
In a statement however the company states that it “categorically rejects any type of actions that endanger the integrity of the people and which directly threatens the legal framework and the respect to the others.”
“In Barrick Pueblo Viejo we’ve always been willing and available to have a discussion and mediation in the resolution of conflicts, beside the fact that they (the protesters) are not our direct employees, so we make a call to dialogue and calm,” Sanchez Albavera said.
As to reasons for the protest, he added that “the authorities are investigating the facts and would take the corresponding actions established in the law against the people responsible for today’s actions."