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PERU DECLARED EMERGANCY OVER GOLD MINE PROTESTS IN THE NORTH


LIMA, PERU - President Ollanta Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency on Sunday in a northern region wrecked by protests against a highlands gold mine, the country's biggest investment, by peasants who fear for their water supply.
The emergency restricts civil liberties such as the right to assembly and allows arrests without warrants in four provinces of Cajamarca state that have been paralysed for 11 days by increasingly violent protests against the $4.8 billion (Dh17.62 billion) Conga gold-and-copper mining project. US-based Newmont Mining Corporation is the project's majority owner.
  • Dozens have been injured in clashes between police and protesters, some of whom have vandalised Conga property. The general strike also shuttered schools and snarled transportation as protesters mounted roadblocks.
  • Humala said in a brief televised address on Sunday night that protest leaders had shown no interest "in reaching minimal agreements to permit a return of social peace" after a day of talks in Cajamarca with Cabinet chief Salmon Lerner and three other ministers.
  • Humala said the government "has exhausted all paths to establish dialogue as a point of departure to resolve the conflict democratically" and blamed "the intransigence of a sector of local and regional leaders".
  • He said the emergency would take effect at midnight Sunday. Lerner's group was accompanied by Peru's military and police chiefs and guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police.
Cajamarca state's governor, Gregorio Santos, who has been leading the protests, called Humala's announcement an unnecessary provocation. He said protest leaders had been planning to end the strike and had asked government officials for 12 hours to consult with protesters. "I think what's being sought is for this to end in a bloodbath," Santos told The Associated Press by telephone. Police have already used tear gas and bullets against protesters.
"We will continue with our fight," Santos added, without specifying how.
Local elected officials have led protests against Conga, an extension of the nearby Yanacocha mine, for more than a month.
Source: Agency, BBC...Read more...
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