Peru Declares Martial Law After Police Open Fire on Anti-Mining Protesters, Killing Two
Peru’s government has declared a 30-day state of emergency following violent clashes between police and anti-mining protesters that left two people dead and more than thirty police officers injured. The government has suspended civil liberties, including the right of assembly, in an attempt to end the protests and break roadblocks surrounding the mine.
Police opened fire on a crowd, killing two, in “self defense” after some protesters defended themselves by throwing rocks and igniting a pasture. Desperate to protect their land and water source from the Tinaya copper mine owned by Swiss-based Xstrata plc, protesters detained a government prosecutor during the protest, and later released him. In response, the military has been granted special police powers to prevent people from gathering with physical force.
Prime Minister Oscar Valdez approved of the police killings saying that the anti-mining protesters are “extremists who are attacking police authority.”
In previous demonstrations, protesters have used large rocks to cover roads leading to the mines, effectively stopping unwelcome vehicles.
A “state of emergency” was also declared back in December to quell protests against the $4.8 billion Conga gold mining project in the northern state of Cajamarca. The project remains on hold during negotiations to protect water sources.