March 27, 2002 – The Ecuadorian police have forcibly evicted environmentalists from the tree-sitters camp at Guarumos in the Mindo Cloud Forest who were blockading the new OCP oil pipeline.

Today around midday a group of police from the Special Forces burst into the camp in Los Guarumos and arrested local Ecuadorians and foreigners who were found at the site at that moment. Since January 2, a group of activists have maintained a permanent presence in the most fragile zone of the Mindo Nambillo Protected Cloud Forest to stop the construction of the pipeline OCP. Their intention was not to abandon the zone until the company and the government decided to stop destroying this unique ecosystem, home to a diversity of rare animals and plants, many on the verge of extinction.

The Ministry of the Environment withdrew the Consortium’s environmental license for the Guarumos area due to malpractice in the pipeline construction process that resulted in serious environmental damage. The report on why the license was withdrawn referred solely to damage along the pipeline right of way on Guarumos peak, and was not based in an inspection of construction work inside the Mindo Nambillo Protected Cloud Forest, where damage is worse.

Instances of environmental damage and the breaking of construction regulations agreed to by OCP in their Environmental Management Plan have occurred throughout the pipeline construction area and have been documented by environmental NGO Accion Ecologica with the aim of demanding that the Ministry of Environment withdraw definitively the environmental license for the project.

The construction of the OCP is continuing at breakneck speed, despite opposition from local people and local governments and in complete violation of constitutional and legal norms with respect to the protection of the environment and the defence of human rights of the inhabitants of the areas along the pipeline route.