- - Monday, December 5, 2011


Emergency declared over mine protests

LIMA — President Ollanta Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency Sunday to quell increasingly violent protests over the country’s biggest investment, a highlands gold mine, by peasants who fear it will damage their water supply.

The emergency restricts civil liberties such as the right to assembly and allows arrests without warrants in four provinces of Cajamarca state that have been paralyzed for 11 days by protests against the $4.8 billion Conga gold and copper mining project. U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. is the project’s majority owner.

Dozens have been injured in clashes between police and protesters, some of whom have vandalized Conga property. The general strike also shuttered schools and snarled transportation as protesters mounted roadblocks.

Mr. Humala said in a brief televised address Sunday night that protest leaders had shown no interest “in reaching minimal agreements to permit a return of social peace” after a day of talks in Cajamarca with Cabinet chief Salmon Lerner, who had been accompanied by military and police chiefs and was guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police.

Mr. Humala said the government “has exhausted all paths to establish dialogue as a point of departure to resolve the conflict democratically.”

The emergency took effect at midnight Sunday.

Cajamarca state’s governor, Gregorio Santos, who has been leading the protests, called Humala’s announcement an unnecessary provocation.

He said protest leaders had been planning to end the strike and asked government officials for 12 hours to consult with protesters.


Labor minister steps down amid corruption scandal

BRASILIA — Brazilian Labor Minister Carlos Lupi on Sunday presented his resignation to President Dilma Rousseff, becoming the sixth member of her government to step down amid corruption accusations.

“Given the political and personal persecution by the media with which I have had to deal for the past several months, and considering the release of the Ethics Committee findings, … I decided to submit my resignation irrevocably,” Mr. Lupi said in a statement.

The presidential ethics committee recommended last week that Mr. Lupi resign.

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