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Peru Declares State of Emergency After Deadly Mine Protests

  • VOA News

People surround an overturned car during a protest at the Tinaya copper mine owned by Swiss-based Xstrata plc in Espinar, Peru, May 28, 2012.

People surround an overturned car during a protest at the Tinaya copper mine owned by Swiss-based Xstrata plc in Espinar, Peru, May 28, 2012.

Peru's government has declared a state of emergency to stem the violent anti-mining protests that have broken out in the southern region of Cuzco.

The state of emergency was declared Monday after two people were killed and at least 40 others injured during a clash between police and protesters demonstrating against the Tinaya copper mine, owned by Swiss-based Xstrata. Authorities say a local prosecutor was briefly taken hostage by the protesters.

President Ollanta Humala's decree for the province of Espinar places the army in charge of public order and prohibits a number of civil liberties, including the right of the people to assemble in public.

The protesters have blocked highway access to the Tinaya mine for the last week, alleging the mine is contaminating the local water supplies. Xstrata denies the accusations.

This is the second time in six months Humala has issued a state of emergency to end anti-mining protests. He issued an emergency decree last December after protests broke out in northern Peru against the $4.8 billion Conga gold mine, owned by U.S.-based Newmont Mining and the largest such project in Peru's history.
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