Peru Police Clash With Protesters Opposed to Pluspetrol Project

Peruvian police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters opposed to natural gas exploration by Pluspetrol SA in an area of jungle in the center of the country, Interior Minister Daniel Urresti said.

Protesters attacked a police station in the Pichanaki district of Junin state with stones, spears and guns on Wednesday, Urresti told Lima-based Radio Programas. Reinforcements are being sent for the 1,700 police officers in the area and ministers are traveling from Lima to start talks with the local population, he said.

One person died and scores were injured after clashes on Tuesday as protesters blocked a stretch of highway and tried to gain entry into a site where Pluspetrol stores explosives and machinery, the Interior Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. Pluspetrol, the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, received permits to begin exploration of the Camisea fields in Junin last year.

“We’ve deployed 1,700 officers to the area and we’re sending more, all without firearms,” Urresti said. “The police aren’t attacking the population. They’re resisting an attack from a mob that’s has been shooting at them. We have two officers with gunshot wounds.”

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