Peru: deadly violence at miners’ protest

On June 27, hundreds of police agents used tear gas in an effort to break up a blockade of Peru’s central highway by miners carrying out a regional strike. The miners struck back with rocks, and one police agent was killed when he was hit in the head with a rock. Following the agent’s death, the miners lifted the blockade.

The miners, on strike against the Casapalca company, had blocked the route since the early morning of June 27 near the town of Casapalca in Huarochiri province, region of Lima, to protest the company’s illegal firings and violations of labor law. Two miners were killed in a similar clash on June 15. At almost the same moment the police agent was killed, Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo had announced a kind of truce with the Casapalca union leaders, in which they were to reopen the highway and allow hundreds of blocked vehicles to pass.

The mining conflict has been going on for several weeks, and the government admits that the workers are in the right, but hasn’t managed to get the company to comply with the labor laws. Labor Minister Susana Pinilla said the government may have to shut down the company or cancel its mining concession. (Prensa Latina, June 28)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 1

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