Kyrgyz mine protests turn deadly

May 31, 2013 at 7:58 AM

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, May 31 (UPI) -- A national security risk exists from protests at a gold mine in northern Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said Friday.

At least one demonstrator died and another 30 other people were injured during protests at the Kumtor gold mine in northern Kyrgyzstan.

Atambayev said Friday that protests threaten public safety and has damaged the national economy. At least $250,000 was lost because of the suspension of production at Kumtor, news agency 24.kg reports.

"All of the organizers of the illegal action must suffer a just punishment, taking into account the fact that their actions have created a threat to the national security of the Kyrgyz Republic, and caused significant damage to the economy," Atambayev was quoted as saying.

Operator Centerra Gold, which has headquarters in Canada, said protesters disrupted the power supply to the Kumtor mine. Mining operations were suspended as protesters blocked the mine access road.

"The company continues to cooperate closely with the government and local authorities with a view to a peaceful resolution of the situation," Centerra said in a statement.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that protesters want a larger share of the company's profits.

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