24/06/2011 - LIMA - At least two protesters were killed Friday in clashes with riot police as anti-mining demonstrators attempted to occupy an airport in southeastern Peru, hospital officials said.
An estimated 1,000 protesters were repelled by some 100 police at Inca Manco Capac international airport in Juliaca as they attempted to breach a security fence with the aim, according to local radio, of occupying runways and disrupting air traffic.
The activists, largely made up of Aymara Indians, resumed protests in the southeastern Puno region earlier this month against mining operations in the area.
For three weeks in May the protesters blocked vehicle traffic between Peru and Bolivia, and then cut off all access to Puno, population 120,000, for a week.
The city is a popular tourist site on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, and hundreds of foreign tourists were unable to leave the city.
The protest began as a demand to revoke a silver mining concession granted to Canada-based Bear Creek Mining Corporation, fearing it will pollute the water and leave few local benefits.
The protests expanded to include opposition to other area mines, and now include opposition to the Inambari project, an ambitious plan to damn several Andean rivers and build what would become one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in South America.