COTUI, Dominican Republic.- At least 25 people were injured Thursday by shotgun pellets in the vilage of La Cabirma amid exchange of gunfire between police and protesters who demanded that the miner Barrick Pueblo Viejo hire more workers from their community.
The protesters demand that the mining company give jobs to residents of Sanchez Ramirez province and surrounding communities.
Hundreds of Cotuí residents took part in a walk for several miles, but once the approached the mining company, a clash between police and protesters ensued.
Some of the injured were taken to various public and private medical facilities in the town.
Leaders of community groups of the province said that most of the company’s employees are foreigners from Peru, Venezuela and other nationalities.
Protest coordinator Sadoski Duarte asked the government to review the contract with the mining company so that Barrick hires mostly Dominicans.
He also demanded a solution to the problems of alleged pollution caused by the miner.
The protest began peacefully in the morning, but turned violent toward noon, forcing the owners of businesses to close their doors
Among the injured figure newspaper Hoy reporter Wilson Aracena, and, Dominican Journalists Guild director in Cotuí, Ramon Salcedo.
"The company deeply regrets the events prompted by private interests," said Barrick Pueblo Viejo PR Jorge Esteva in a statement.
He said the protest organizers took advantage of the needy and unemployed in the area to unleash lawlessness and instability within the community. "