LIMA – At least one person was killed and 22 were injured on Tuesday in clashes between protesters and police in the mining town of La Oroya, some 185 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Lima, Peruvian authorities said.
Martin Alvaro, manager of the Health Network in the Junin region, told Canal N television that Edward Soto de la Cruz, 41, was pronounced dead on arrival at the La Oroya hospital.
Alvaro said that 22 other people were treated for bruises and stab wounds received during protests after the failed auction of a metallurgical complex formerly operated by Doe Run Peru, a unit of the U.S.-based Renco Group.
National Police director Jorge Flores told reporters later that the units on the scene in La Oroya were operating within accepted guidelines and that Soto’s death was under investigation.
The clashes erupted when police tried to disperse protesters blocking the Central Highway, the main route from the Junin region to Lima.
Authorities cannot allow Central Highway to be shut down, Flores said.
Groups in La Oroya declared a general strike after the failure of the auction of the assets of Doe Run Peru, including the complex in the city and the Cobriza mine in the neighboring region of Huancavelica.
Residents had hoped a buyer would emerge to revive the mining and processing operation.
Protesters want the Peruvian government to issue an emergency executive order extending labor protection to the miners and metalworkers left unemployed by the shutdown of Doe Run’s operation.
The Doe Run smelting and refining complex was shuttered in 2009 due to the company’s financial woes and its failure to comply with environmental clean-up requirements.
In April 2012, Doe Run Peru was declared by its creditors in a process of “operational liquidation,” which meant that while they would not approve the company’s restructuring plan, they would allow the company to continue production pending a final resolution.