Armed clash at Canadian-owned copper mine in Peru injures at least 4 – by Franklin Briceno (Vancouver Sun – January 25, 2013)

The Associated Press – LIMA, Peru – At least four people were wounded Friday when police turned back several hundred peasants who were trying to enter a Canadian-owned copper mine where drilling began last month.

A local doctor told The Associated Press by phone that at least a dozen were wounded in the clash in the temperate Quechua-speaking highlands of Peru’s northern state of Lambayeque.

The doctor said one protester, 57, was shot in the back. The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety. Hermogenes Tantarico, the wounded man’s son, said his father “received a bullet in the back and a lot of shotgun pellets in the legs and elsewhere that left him unconscious.”

Regional police commander Col. Jorge Linares denied live ammunition was used. He said police only used tear gas and rubber bullets. One of the protesters, Florentino Barrios, said 27 were hurt, a lot from shotgun pellets.

International human rights groups criticized Peru’s government last year for so readily using live ammunition against protesters after five were killed in anti-mining protests in July.

Mining drives Peru’s region-leading economy, with growth forecast at more than 6 per cent this year, but the social costs have been high, with multiple mining projects facing sometimes violent opposition.

Protests began Sunday against the Caniariaco mine, with police using tear gas against them.

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