Five people have been killed in recent days in protests against what would be Peru’s largest gold mine.
Opposition by locals concerned over the environmental impacts of the Minas Conga mine by Minera Yanacocha, majority owned by Newmont Mining Corp, forced the project to be placed on hold in November 2011 . President Ollanta Humala responded by declaring martial law in the region, and several of his ministers resigned in disgrace over the government’s handling of the unrest.
Earlier this month, Yanacocha initiated preliminary work on the mine under police protection. In the ensuing protests, three civilians were killed, apparently while trying to storm a government building. Two of them were apparently killed by gunshots to the head. A total of five people were killed in protests before Humala once again declared martial law and suspended civil liberties. Numerous people have been arrested since then for crimes such as organizing meetings.
Protests are continuing in spite of the repression, and a group of priests is working to negotiate a resolution to the conflict.