Petroperú says indigenous protesters demanding COVID treatment halt pipeline station output

LIMA, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Peruvian state-owned oil firm Petroperú said on Monday that a group of indigenous people armed with spears and demanding medical care for coronavirus infections entered one of its pipeline stations, halting operations a day after it restarted activities.

Production was affected when the indigenous protesters entered the station on Sunday night in the Amazonian region of Marañón, the company said in a statement. The incident came on the heels of a three-month suspension to production activities as part of the country’s mandatory lockdown coronavirus period.

The indigenous protesters had several social equality demands, including health and medicine centers to deal with COVID-19, the company said. Peru has more than 428,850 infections, the third highest rate in Latin America, according to government data.

“Petroperú regrets that this measure of force has interrupted the restart of operations of the,” the company’s statement said. “These events impact not only Petroperú but the hydrocarbon industry in general.”

Representatives for the indigenous community involved could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company said it transferred its workers and contractors away from the site.

Petroperú is in the midst of an expansion of its operations worth at least $4.7 billion. (Reporting by Marco Aquino; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by David Gregorio)