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LT-Peru-AmazonProtes 1stLd-Writethru 06-09 Web

Indian leader seeks exile

A Peruvian Indian leader charged with sedition for heading protests against Amazon development has sought refuge in Nicaragua’s Embassy and is seeking asylum, the government said Monday.

Alberto Pizango led protests that erupted in violence Friday when police moved in to break up a highway blockade manned by Indians. The clashes left dozens dead, including 23 police officers.

Protest leaders accused the government of "genocide" for killing indigenous demonstrators, while the government accused the protesters of brutality and ordered Pizango’s arrest for sedition.

The political violence was the Andean country’s worst since the Shining Path insurgency was quelled more than a decade ago.

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