Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cuzco, Peru - Thousands of protesters have occupied the British-run Rio Blanco copper project in an effort to close down the operation. Police are reported to have killed seven of the demonstrators while trying to drive them from their positions. Another 40 people were injured, six or eight are missing, and 32 were arrested. One police officer was shot and injured when his gun was wrested from him. Area residents have demanded that the London based Monterrico Metals to abandon the site after they polluted area streams with toxic chemicals and in the process destroyed people's farm land. Both the Peruvian Government and the Catholic Church are attempting to end the disruption through negotiations. The mine managers say that they do not have any plans to leave the site and plan to make it the second largest mine in the country.