Peru: Police Open Fire on Mining Protesters Killing Three


CQFU37fU8AAdHciPolice opened fire on the Peruvian highlands farmers protesting a $7.4bn Chinese-owned copper mining project, when they entered part of the Las Bambas mine where the plant that separates copper ore from rock is being built.

While the first three days of the protests passed without incident, violence broke out yesterday afternoon after police tried to disperse a crowd of 2,000 demonstrators. The indefinite strike against the mining project Las Bambas started on Friday 25th September.

By the end of the day, three were dead and 23 injured – 15 civilians and 8 police officers. Police arrested 30 protesters. Percy Jeronimo, the oral surgeon running the emergency room, said three of the wounded were critically ill.

All three of the deceased were protesters killed by bullet wounds. The bodies were identified as Exaltation Huamani, who died in the health center of the area; Huilca Chahuallo Beto (34) and Alberto Cardenas Chalco (23).

“The time for waiting is over,” said protest leader Jaime Osorio. “We won’t stop this protest until the government shows its face. Let the ministers come, let the government come.”

The local health director, Jose Soplopuco, said two men died on the way to the regional capital of Cuzco and one at the local health clinic.

Soplopuco said ambulances could not reach Challhuahuacho, the town of about 10,000 residents where the clinic is, because police had shot at a vehicle carrying doctors.

A State of Emergency has been declared authorizing the intervention of the armed forces from the 25th of September to the 24th of October in the provinces of Grau and Cotabambas, in the department of Apurimac, as well as in the provinces of Chumbivilcas and Espinar in Cusco.

Residents say the mining company changed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) irregularly and without transparency.

Changes made without knowledge of the population changed the location of processing plants and ore transport systems in Cotabambas Espinar.

The villagers fear that their resources are affected and have agreed to ignore the modifications to the Environmental Impact Assessment and form a committee to fight. Residents distrust statements and promises made by the mining company and Peruvian Government officials supportive of the Las Bambas project.

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