Peru's government announced Friday night that it has suspended civil liberties in a southern coastal valley in the country after a fourth person died during protests against a Mexican-owned copper mining project, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Cabinet chief Pedro Cateriano said that the 60-day emergency will be applicable from Saturday.
Freedom of assembly and movement, and protection against warrantless searches fall under the ambit of the suspended rights, the AP reported, citing Cateriano. The decision follows the death of a 55-year-old man in Friday's clashes, where four others were also injured. So far, over 200 have been injured in the protests that have been going on since March.
Farmers in Tambo Valley, where rice is cultivated, are protesting against Southern Copper Corp.’s $1.4 million project to build a copper mine in the region. The project is aimed at doubling the Mexican firm’s output to 1.2 million tons.
Protests against the Tia Maria project, controlled by Southern Copper, an affiliate of Grupo Mexico, started after communities near the Arequipa region, expressed concerns about the natural resources in the region getting polluted, Forbes reported. The company is the world’s third-largest copper producer.
Julio Morriberon, the company’s director of institutional relations who supervises the project, had called the protesters “terrorists,” Bloomberg reported in March.
Morriberon had announced the cancelation of the project in March, and said, according to Bloomberg: “I’m here to announce the cancelation of Tia Maria project and the complete withdrawal of our investment,” from the area. However, protests still continued with farmers demanding a total annulment of the mining project.
The Peruvian government has sent 2,000 police to the area while the country’s army has deployed 1,000 soldiers to back them up.