Peru reinforces embattled mining region

AP News
Posted: Mar 15, 2012 3:43 PM
Peru reinforces embattled mining region

Peru's government says it's sending 1,000 police reinforcements to an Amazon basin capital where three people were killed during rioting by illegal gold miners.

Cabinet chief Oscar Valdez vowed to remain firm against the miners as their leaders suspended protests Thursday to mourn their dead.

More than 12,000 miners rioted Wednesday in Puerto Maldonado after talks collapsed over government efforts to restrict and regulate alluvial gold mining that's destroying the rain forest and poisoning it with tons of mercury.

Authorities say 38 people were injured Wednesday in addition to the three killed by gunfire.

Interior Minister Daniel Lozada defended the use of force but did not say whether police bullets killed the protesters.