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NEWS: Anti-mining protests in defense of water continue in Peru


Agence France Presse reports, “Activists opposed to mining operations in the southeastern Puno region mobilized Monday for a fresh wave of protests after a respite that allowed stores to briefly open for business. The protesters, mostly Aymara Indians, are angry over plans by a Canadian company to open a silver mine in the area, fearing it will pollute the water and leave few local benefits. They also oppose other area mines. More than 3,000 Aymara protesters reached the city of Puno Monday and were threatening to again block all access to the city of 120,000 on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Thousands more were reportedly heading to the city.” “The protesters at first were demanding that a concession granted to Canada-based Bear Creek Mining Corporation to open an area silver mine be revoked. …For days (starting on May 24) demonstrators blocked the railroad, the airport and all roads in and out of the city. …It soon became a broader indictment of mining in the region. …The demonstrators agreed on Saturday to halt the protests in talks with the government, in exchange for a 12-month freeze on all regional mining activity. However rank-and-file protesters rejected the agreement the next day and said that protests would resume. …Protest leader Walter Aduviri told AFP that the activists will continue demonstrating “until the final consequences” seeking a presidential decree banning mining in the region completely.” “The planned protests come just ahead of a June 5 presidential election pitting leftist populist Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, imprisoned for crimes against humanity. Polls show the two are in a statistical tie, and the Puno region is considered an Humala stronghold. Aduviri has threatened to prevent voting if protester demands are not met.” The AFP report is at http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jvPE2cLUgEJqii09O2YeHWx1acGw?docId=CNG.b629fa3401e51f49136f0d3e79d7d8b7.681.