Friday, May 31, 2013

Emergency Declared as Kyrgyz Gold Mine Protest Turns Violent

Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev declared a state of emergency in a district in the north of the country on Friday after protests at the nation’s biggest gold mine turned into violent riots, with dozens injured. At least one protester died and some 30 others were injured on both sides on Friday, reported, when protesters clashed with police near the huge Kumtor gold mine in northern Kyrgyzstan, which is run by Canada’s Centerra Gold. Police used firearms and tear gas to disperse the crowd as protesters threw stones. Atambayev said the protest “threatens the republic’s national security and has significantly damaged the country’s economy,” adding the resultant losses to the state’s revenues could be up to $125 million. He also claimed the stoppage of work at the mine due to the protest could “cause a serious environmental catastrophe” at the site. The protesters are demanding a bigger share of the profits from the country's most lucrative gold mine and more investment in local infrastructure.

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