Juliaca (Peru): At least five people were killed and 32 wounded when riot police battled anti-mining demonstrators to prevent them from taking over an airport in southeastern Peru, hospital officials said on Saturday.

The victims were part of a group of some 1,000 mostly local Aymara Indian farmers who tried to storm the Inca Manco Capac international airport in Juliaca.

“Up to now there are five dead, including a woman, all perforated by bullets," Juliaca hospital doctor Percy Casaperalta told the reporters in this city of 200,000 inhabitants.

The wounded had been shot with bullets and pellets, and several had severe injuries, Casaperalta said.

Interior Minister Miguel Hidalgo said that protesters attempted to storm the airport twice. He said they also attacked a police station in the nearby city of Azangaro and tried to set a customs office on fire.

The Puno region has been in the grips of a wave of protests against mining projects, led primarily by the Aymara Indians, a majority ethnic group in this part of the country.

They are demanding an end to mining activity and oil drilling in Puno, one of the Peru's poorest areas.