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5 killed in anti mining protests in Peru

At least five people were killed and 32 wounded when riot police battled anti-mining demonstrators to prevent them taking over an airport in southeastern Peru, hospital officials said early today.

world Updated: Jun 26, 2011 02:18 IST

At least five people were killed and 32 wounded when riot police battled anti-mining demonstrators to prevent them taking over an airport in southeastern Peru, hospital officials said early on Saturday.

The victims were part of a group of some 1,000 mostly local Aymara Indian farmers that tried to storm the Inca Manco Capac international airport in Juliaca.

"Up to now there are five dead, including a woman, all perforated by bullets," Juliaca hospital doctor Percy Casaperalta told AFP in this city of 200,000 inhabitants. The wounded had been shot with bullets and pellets, and several had severe injuries, Casaperalta said.

Interior minister Miguel Hidalgo said that protesters attempted to storm the airport twice. He said they also attacked a police station in the nearby city of Azangaro and tried to set a customs office on fire.

The Puno region has been in the grips of a wave of protests against mining projects, led primarily by the Aymara Indians, a majority ethnic group in this part of the country. They are demanding an end to mining activity and oil drilling in Puno, one of the Peru's poorest areas.