Three die in clashes over Peru mining project

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The Independent US

Peru's government has declared a state of emergency in three provinces after three people died and at least 21 were injured in a violent protest against a gold mining project that is the South American country's biggest investment.

The Justice Minister, Juan Jimenez, announced the 30-day emergency, which suspends civil liberties, after several thousand protesters attacked a provincial town hall in Celendin, a town in the northern state of Cajamarca, and battled police and soldiers.

Celendin is a stronghold of opposition to the proposed $4.8bn (£3bn) Conga gold mine, which is financed by the US-based company Newmont. Protesters claim that project will destroy water supplies.

It is the second time in five weeks that the government has declared an emergency after anti-mining protests resulted in fatalities. A state of emergency was declared in the southern province of Espinar on 29 May after two people were killed in a protest against the Tinaya copper mine, owned by the Anglo-Swiss mining giant Xstrata.

Protesters backed by the regional President, Gregorio Santos, have refused to accept a compromise on the Conga project proposed by President Ollanta Humala that his government says will protect water supplies. The deal would include the construction of four reservoirs to replace those that are set to be destroyed.

Three male civilians were killed during the fight, at least two of them by gunshots to the head, while two police officers and a soldier were wounded by gunfire – though authorities did not say whether police or troops used their weapons.