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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
Peru sends police into riot town
Police in Ilave, Peru
Heavily-armed police remove a barricade from an Ilave street
Police have returned in force to the south-east Peruvian town of Ilave where indigenous people lynched the mayor and besieged the police station.

A convoy of lorries rolled into the main square of the Andean town near Lake Titicaca and 220 officers began restoring order, the government said.

Police had pulled out on Monday after thousands of people attacked their station with petrol bombs.

Impoverished local people have been protesting for weeks about corruption.

Mayor Cirilo Fernando Robles Cayomamani was forcibly paraded through the city in front of thousands of people, many thought to be from outside the town, before being beaten and left to die.

He had been seized along with at least three other officials after refusing to resign in the face of more than three weeks of protests which closed schools and two bridges linking Peru to Bolivia, and severely disrupted economic activity.

Television pictures from the town show a building and vehicle set ablaze on Monday.

Mass protests

Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi said his officers were retaking control of Ilave on Tuesday but he warned it would be a "slow process".

At the height of the unrest, there were thought to be about 10,000 protesters in Ilave, a town of some 16,000.

Mayor Robles Cayomamani is filmed after his capture by the mob
Ilave's mayor was dragged through the streets
Most of them are said to be Aymara Indians from surrounding villages.

They accused the mayor of embezzling state funds.

Mr Rospigliosi said the situation could not be resolved by force given the sheer size of the protests.

He warned that the protests could easily mushroom again.

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23 Mar 04  |  Americas
Country profile: Peru
20 Feb 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Peru
20 Feb 04  |  Country profiles

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