26 Jun 2011

Peru suspends mining project amid deadly protests

9:30 am on 26 June 2011

At least five people are reported to have died in clashes between police and anti-mining demonstrators in southern Peru.

The violence in the Puno region of southern Peru was part of a two-day strike over a silver-mining contract given to a Canadian corporation.

The government revoked a concession granted to Bear Creek Mining Corporation after negotiations in the wake of the protests, AFP reports.

Demonstrators feared the mine would increase pollution, while bringing few benefits to the local population.

Hundreds of demonstrators, many of them indigenous Aymara people, on Friday attempted to storm an airport in the city of Juliaca, in the Puno region.

The violence comes in the final weeks of the presidency of Alan Garcia, who hands power to leftist president-elect Ollanta Humala on 28 July.

Protests took place in several parts of the country in May, and have expanded to include opposition to other mines and to the Inambari project to dam several Andean rivers and build a huge hydroelectric power plant.