CNN: Peru cancels mine operation after deadly clashes; protesters shut down airport

Operations at the Santa Ana mine in Peru, owned by Canada-based Bear Creek Mining, have been cancelled after violence erupted on Friday in the city of Juliaca, CNN reported:

Following the deaths of five protesters in clashes with police Friday, the Peruvian government agreed to put an end to a private mining project in the southern department of Puno.

The decision followed more than 10 hours of talks between government ministers and indigenous Aymara leaders as the two sides tried to put an end to an indefinite strike that has gripped Puno for a month. The protests are against mining and drilling concessions in the region.

According to Fernando Gala, vice minister of mines, a shutdown of the Santa Ana mine could cost Puno $9 million in annual royalties, said CNN.

Meanwhile, reported Reuters, thousands of protesters  opposed to mining and energy projects in southern Peru took over a commercial airport on Saturday:

Herbert Rosas, a police general, told Reuters some 3,000 protesters had occupied the runway at the Juliaca airport in the region of Puno and that several hundred police officers retreated to avoid another clash.

The article quotes departing Peruvian president Alan Garcia as saying the mostly indigenous protesters were making a show of force to get a slice of power in the government of President-elect Ollanta Humala, who takes office on July 28.

Under Garcia’s watch, nearly 100 people have died over the last three years in conflicts over natural resources. Humala, the new president, has vowed to end the disputes, which have pitted poor towns against mining and oil companies. His traditional base of support is in Peru’s poorer southern provinces.

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