Emergency declared in Peru after mine protest turns violent

May 29, 2012

Anti-mining protests in Peru’s southern Andean province of Espinar left two civilians dead and at least 76 police officers injured on May 27. The government of Peru declared a 30-day state of emergency.

The violent riots erupted between hundreds of police officers and people who support an indefinite strike against the Tintaya copper mine owned by Swiss-based Xstrata plc.

The emergency measures, announced May 28, include the suspension of freedom of assembly and give special powers to the police in the hopes of restoring order in the province, said Peru’s Prime Minister Oscar Valdes.

At the news conference, Valdes accused the protesters of taking a radical position, CNN reported.

“We ratify that as a government we want a dialogue to take place. In the case of Espinar, up to now we have tried without success to hold that dialogue,” Valdes said.

Wilver Calle, the interior minister, confirmed the two deaths and said that 30 police officers were injured in the protests on May 28 and 46 were injured on May 27.

Residents around the mine were without power, according to CNN affiliate, America Noticias, and the network showed images of a mine building on fire.

Many people in the Espinar province have being protesting since last week and they are calling for an investigation into alleged environmental damage caused by the Tintaya copper mine and an increase of the company’s contribution from three to 30 percent to the local authorities.



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