Up to 30 killed in Peru Amazon clashes

June 6, 2009 at 11:18 AM

BAGUA, Peru, June 6 (UPI) -- Protests and rioting in Peru's remote Amazon region have killed at least 30 people, local officials and residents say.

Indigenous people in Peru's northern province of Bagua in the Department of Amazonas clashed Friday with police who were attempting to remove a roadblock erected during a protest of oil drilling and mining activities, with eight police and 22 protesters reported killed, CNN said.

Peru has declared a state of emergency in the region, where protests have been going on for 59 days, the U.S. broadcaster said.

The Bagua public defender's office told the Los Angeles Times that 45 people were injured in the clashes, in which rioters allegedly damaged city offices, the local headquarters of President Alan Garcia's political party and about 50 stores.

The newspaper said one report indicated protesters were holding 38 police officers for ransom, threatening to kill them unless police stopped attacking local residents.

The Times said the clashes began in April when the Garcia government granted mineral development rights to foreign companies in areas claimed as ancestral lands by several indigenous communities.

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