The southern province of Abancay in Peru’s Apurímac region, known for copper and iron mines, is under police and military control to prevent further disruption from protesters who demand a greater share of the region’s budget. The state of emergency, declared Wednesday, will last for 60 days. Civil liberties have been suspended and public transportation is restricted in Abancay City, the region’s capital.
Protesters accuse David Salazar, president of the seven provinces in the Apurímac region, of allocating half of the region’s funds to the province of Andahuaylas, which has a historical rivalry with Abancay province.
On Nov. 20, clashes between police and union members who had gone on strike demanding the resignation of Salazar left 87 people injured. The Peruvian government fears the strikes and protests could effect mining operations in the region that are heavily backed by foreign capital. Total investment in Peru’s mines amounts to around $20 billion.
Peru’s President of the Council of Ministers, Javier Velásquez Quesquén, said the protests are politically motivated. “We are not cutting the budget for Apurimac region. In fact it is increasing. The issue is the distribution, but even so, this is a political issue,” he said.