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Wildcat miners protest Peru crackdown

March 21, 2014

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Some 20,000 wildcat gold miners in Peru have staged a second day of marches to protest President Ollanta Humala’s crackdown on illegal mining.

In Lima, thousands of miners threaten to remain on the streets and they have requested a meeting with Humala. In the regions of Arequipa and Puno, protesters took control of highways under the watch of security forces.

More than 70,000 miners face an April 19 deadline to register with the government or face sanctions including imprisonment.

Humala says illegal mining is destroying the Amazon rain forest. But miners say they’re being treated as criminals and the clean-up endangers the livelihood of thousands of families.

Peru is the world’s fifth largest gold producer, but an estimated 20 percent of its annual production is of unknown origin.

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