LIMA, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The government of Peru declared a 30-day state of emergency in its Apurimac region after four deaths during anti-mining protests.
Four people were shot dead during clashes between police and anti-mining protesters Tuesday at the Las Bambas mine project, which is owned by a Chinese company. The protests in Apurimac began Friday over fears that the $7.4 billion copper mine will cause environmental damage to the Andes mountains.
The state of emergency will applies to the five southern provinces of Cotabambas, Grau, Andahuaylas and Chincheros in the Apurimac region, and to Chumbivilcas and Espinar in the Cuzco region.
The protests escalated on Monday when about 2,000 demonstrators attempted to gain entry to land owned by the mining company near the town of Challhuahuacho. At least 14 protesters and eight police officers were injured.
The state of emergency declaration allows police to search homes without a warrant and the freedom of assembly is suspended. Additional troops will be sent to Apurimac "to restore internal peace."
Tuesday's state of emergency declaration follows a 60-day state of emergency announced in May over violence stemming from protests against the Tia Maria copper mine in Peru's Islay province.
Mexican-owned mining company Southern Peru plans to invest about $1.4 billion in the project, but local residents have continuously protested, arguing the mine will ruin the environment and damage agriculture if operational.
The project has been continuously delayed since 2009 due to environmental issues, but it received its final approval in 2014.