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Indigenous activists occupy Petroperu pipeline facilities over healthcare demands

LIMA (Reuters) - More than 100 indigenous activists in Peru´s Amazon occupied infrastructure belonging to the state-run Petroperú pipeline, the company said on Tuesday, demanding improved social benefits and health care in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Petroperú said the group had ventured inside an industrial facility it considered to be “high-risk,” for explosions.

On Monday, Petroperú said it had been forced to halt pipeline operations due to blockades and protests by local indigenous communities. The remote region, with few health care facilities, has been particularly hard hit by the impacts of the pandemic.

Amazon indigenous tribes have demanded the government provide new clinics and hospitals and improved access to medicine to help combat the virus.

Peru has recorded more than 800,000 cases of COVID-19, the second-highest number in Latin America and sixth-highest globally.

The Petroperú pipeline transports crude oil from the northern jungle of Peru to its refinery on the Pacific coast.

Reporting by Maria Cervantes, writing by Dave Sherwood, editing by Richard Pullin

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