The government of Peru declared a state of emergency Friday in the province of Islay, Arequipa, after protests against the Tia Maria mining project escalated further resulting in another civilian death.
The Arequipa region of southern Peru has been rocked by months of protests and demonstrations against the Southern Copper Corporation's Tia Maria project. Locals fear the project will cause environmental damage and affect their ability to farm in the area.
The chief of the Ministerial Cabinet, Pedro Cateriano, told reporters that the right to mobilization, transport, and meetings were suspended for 60 days after attacks by police left another citizen dead, bringing the number up to four in the last two months, since the strike against the mine began.
Cateriano condemned the attempt at using violence to solve the issues and claimed that Peru had seen all “the efforts made to negotiate” around the technical aspects of the project.
The project, along with several others throughout Peru, is backed by the Peruvian government of Ollanta Humala, which has opted to cater to transnational mining companies, purportedly as a means to generate economic activity.
Since the beginning of 2009, local communities have slammed the initiative as damaging to the availability of water and therefore limiting the production of rice, sugar cane, and paprika in the valley of the river Tambo.
Since May 2013, the government has issued four separate sets of laws to make environmental and social standards flexible and favorable for extractive industries.
The government has sent in thousands of police and military to quell protests, which activists fear will only lead to more deaths.
Southern Copper Corporation ordered a halt their US$1.4 billion project for 60 days but that moved proved insufficient for demonstrators. Protesters are adamant that they will not cease until the project is canceled, an outcome rejected outright by President Humala.