Peru police arrest mayor over mine protests

Official accused of promoting protests against mine owned by Xstrata that led to two deaths and a state of emergency.

Police arrest mayor over Peru protests
Two people were killed and 50 were injured in protests against a copper mine run by Xstrata [Reuters]

Peruvian police have arrested the mayor of a highlands town accused of promoting anti-mining protests in which two people died this week.

It was the second arrest of a leader of the protests, which prompted the government to declare a 30-day emergency suspending civil liberties in Espinar province.

Regional Police Chief Gaston Rodriguez said Mayor Oscar Mollohuanca is among seven people taken into custody since the emergency was announced on Monday. TV images showed dozens of riot police entering his offices.

Peasants in the region have been protesting against the Tintaya copper mine owned by Swiss-based Xstrata. They contend it threatens their water supplies and livestock. Xstrata denies the mine pollutes.

Fifty people were injured, including 30 police, in the protests.

Source: AP