LIMA – Peru’s government “is restoring order” in the Amazon region of Madre de Dios, where clashes between illegal miners and police left one dead and 38 wounded on Wednesday, the interior minister said.
Daniel Lozada confirmed that one demonstrator was killed in the crackdown on the illegal miners, who have been protesting laws aimed at preventing environmental depredation and other crimes.
“We can say we’re gaining control of (the city of Puerto Maldonado) and we’re not going to let this escalate,” he told state television.
Lozada said a total of 40 people have been arrested to date and called on Madre de Dios authorities to cooperate with security forces although he said federal authorities were not considering declaring a state of siege in that region.
The minister also said the government will continue its efforts to combat illegal mining.
The representative of the national ombud’s office in Madre de Dios, Guimo Loaiza, told Efe Wednesday that one person was killed and 38 others were injured in clashes in Puerto Maldonado, the regional capital.
He added that one of the wounded demonstrators was in intensive care and that 11 police suffered varying degrees of injuries.
“The person who died perished from a bullet wound, probably from the police. Several streets in the region are blocked and haven’t been able to be cleared so far,” Loaiza said.
The illegal miners launched violent protests early Wednesday, attempting to seize the Puerto Maldonado airport, occupy the city’s market and blockade its main streets.
Regional education officials canceled classes and businesses and government offices in Puerto Maldonado were closed on Wednesday.
Illegal miners have held demonstrations and set up road blockades since last week to protest recent laws that make their activities punishable by up to 10 years in prison. EFE