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Indigenous activist who helped close polluting Guatemala palm oil factory shot dead

September 18, 2015

GUATEMALA CITY – An indigenous leader opposed to the production of Guatemala palm oil was killed Friday outside a court that a day earlier ordered the closure of a factory against which he had led protests.

“We deplore the murder of the activist Rigoberto Lima Choc,” a spokesman for the National Union of Hope party (UNE) told AFP.

#JusticiaYa

The victim, 28, was shot outside a local court in Sayaxche, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of the capital, by two men on a motorcycle. Lima Choc was a teacher and municipal councilor for the UNE in Sayaxche.

His killing came a day after the court ordered the six-month closure of a business accused of polluting a local river with pesticides. The pesticides were used in the production of Guatemala palm oil and affected thousands of people in the region.

The United Nations had described the situation as an “ecological disaster” that caused the deaths of thousands of fish.

In early June, Lima Choc led a group of people denouncing the factory.

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